Are Wrongful Death Damage Caps Unconstitutional?
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Until recently, there was a law in Florida that limited the families of wrongful death victims from receiving more than $200,000 in noneconomic damages after medical malpractice. This is still true in some parts of the country. In this video, Miami wrongful death attorney Joe Kalbac explains how wrongful death damage caps are actually unconstitutional under the 7th Amendment, which guarantees the right to a jury trial.
There’s a law in Florida, the Wrongful Death Statute, which governs every death as someone’s else’s negligence. There’s an exception in that, that if you die as a result of medical negligence and you don’t have a surviving spouse or minor children, children under 25, then you have no case for pain and suffering or for the loss of that loved one or that person. If that same person got hit by a commercial vehicle, then the adult children could recover in the event that there’s no surviving spouse or no minor children. And there’s no logic in that. The newest issue in Florida is there used to be a cap on the wrongful death damages you were allowed to recover in the event of medical negligence and the cap was two hundred thousand dollars. This firm, a lot of firms around the state fought that. And about a year or two ago, the Supreme Court of Florida threw that out and saying it was arbitrary. There’s not a medical negligence epidemic. There’s not a problem with the medical negligence cases and they threw that out. And now someone who dies as a result of medical negligence can recover the same, except for that other provision, any amount that a jury decides is fair. The 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that every citizen in the United States is entitled to a jury trial. Most people don’t realize that. Everybody concentrates on the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. Or the First Amendment, the right to free speech. But the 7th Amendment gives every American the right to have a jury trial and anything that challenges that, any bar to that. Anything that makes it harder to get to a jury trial violates the United States Constitution. My name is Joe Kalbac, if you need more information, please call me at area code 305-476-7400. Or call our firm Colson Hicks Eidson at the same number. Or feel free to visit our website at Colson.com.