Tag Archive for NICA

The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association & Medical Malpractice

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An infant can be hurt before it actually is born. Childbirth is a very intense and traumatic event for both the mother and child. There are cases where the infant is hurt during and that can cause neurological injuries after it is born. There could be a myriad of reasons why the child is hurt during the childbirth experience and sometimes it can be due to the hospital and/or other medical officials. In those situations where a medical professional or establishment is at fault, lawsuits are sure to follow. The state of Florida came up with a way to avoid what they call “the costly legal proceedings and compensate the effected families”. The Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association or NICA was created by the Florida Legislature in 1988. NICA’s compensation plan pays for the medical care of infants with certain kinds of neurological injuries. The goals of NICA were to foster obstetrician services by physicians, fix what the issues they saw with medical malpractice insurance, and provide direct assistance to the injured children.

In general, Medical Malpractice is a huge driver of litigation in the courts. Especially in a place like Florida, where the demographics of the population would mean the residents would need more medical services. For years there have been movements against lawsuits against medical malpractice. The opponents tend to be huge hospitals and insurance companies that are constantly being sued in court over the malpractice allegations. So they have pursued and supported litigation seeking to limit the scope of medical malpractice. They were even successful through legislation in getting caps placed on medical malpractice awards. In 2003, the medical malpractice law was overhauled and the caps were put in place. That severely limited what a family could get should they pursue litigation. That legislation may have caused some families not pursue litigation on medical malpractice because of the caps. In 2014, The Florida Supreme Court in a 5-2 ruling struck down the caps on medical malpractice awards. The justices said “the caps saved a modest amount for many by imposing devastating costs on a few.”

While the medical malpractice caps have been removed, the issue of medical malpractice and NICA came together when article was published by The Florida Bar Journal in 2011. The title of the article was Twelve Ways To Avoid A Determination Of NICA Compensability In A Medical Malpratice Case.  In the article, the author Jon Gilbert lists the factors a plaintiff attorney should apply to a case where it is deemed acceptable in a NICA court for determination on compensation.