Medical Malpractice

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The state's largest medical malpractice insurance company has filed a request for an eight-percent increase on average for the doctors it insures.

Jacksonville-based First Professionals Insurance says its request could have been for a nearly 20-percent increase. But the company says it's being reduced by a recent change in law, limiting lawsuit damages in malpractice cases.

The fight over how to rein in higher malpractice insurance costs was one of the most divisive in recent history in the Florida Legislature. Eventually, lawmakers passed a compromised bill limiting non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering awards, for many victims of medical mistakes.

Insurance companies say lawsuit damages have been the biggest factor driving up premiums. On the other hand, doctors say they were being forced to stop practicing, or at least cut back on risky procedures, threatening access to health care in some areas.

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