In what should accurately be called an assault on a citizen’s right to a remedy through the courts, Florida lawmakers are considering capping the amount of money an attorney can receive if they successfully represent a victim of a negligent nursing home, reports The St. Augustine Record. The proposal, (HB 661, SB 1396) caps pain and suffering (non-economic damages) at $250,000, even if it costs that much to bring a successful case to trial. It would also make it tougher to obtain punitive damages to make sure the nursing home never commits the crime of negligence again. The bills also do not allow the injured to name the owner of a nursing home in a lawsuit if they live outside the area or are strictly an investor.
The lines in this debate are drawn with lobbyists for the nursing home industry, the Florida Health Care Association interested in cutting down on “opportunistic lawsuits”, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which represents business, facing off with the AARP and Florida Justice Association, which represents trial attorneys. Debra Henley, the executive director, points out that there is nothing in the bills that would help nursing home residents and nothing that makes homes accountable for their actions that lead to injury and death.
The Florida nursing home abuse attorneys at Farah & Farah find that nursing home litigation holds nursing homes accountable for negligence when state law fails to do so. There is currently no cap on a wrongful death at a nursing home, but capping pain and suffering is a disincentive designed to discourage Florida law firms from tackling these types of costly cases. We understand there are deserving nursing home residents who have been victimized by facilities that put profits over people. These victims are the people we will continue to represent until they nail shut the courtroom doors.