As I mentioned in previous blog posts, there is a growing trend in Pennsylvania and elsewhere of doctors requiring patients to sign arbitration agreements before they will agree to treat them. These agreements, in essence, stipulate that should the patient believe they are the victim of medical malpractice they will not sue the doctor in court, but rather will resolve the claim via a private, binding arbitration. An arbitration is a proceeding wherein the parties present their case to a neutral third-party, called an arbitrator (often a retired judge or experienced attorney), who then makes a decision and decides the amount of damages, if any. By entering into these agreements, patients are giving up their right to have their case heard by a jury of their peers.

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court considered whether such arbitration agreements are enforceable. By a vote of five to two, the Court held that they are not, finding that these agreements violate public policy. The Court explained that these agreements require patients to give up their right to pursue their case in a court of law without requiring the doctors to give up anything in return. It is noted that the agreement specifically at issue in the Florida case also attempted to limit the patient’s non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) to $250,000, which is not provided under Florida law.
 

<span
lang=EN-CA style=' An arbitration is a proceeding wherein the
parties present their case to a neutral third-party, called an arbitrator
(often a retired judge or experienced attorney), who then makes a decision and
decides the amount of damages, if any. 
By entering into these agreements, patients are giving up their right to
have their case heard by a jury of their peers. 

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court considered whether such
arbitration agreements are enforceable. 
By a vote of five to two, the Court held that they are not, finding that
these agreements violate public policy.  The
Court explained that these agreements require patients to give up their right
to pursue their case in a court of law without requiring the doctors to give up
anything in return.  It is noted that the
agreement specifically at issue in the Florida case also attempted to limit the
patient’s non-economic damages i.e. such as pain and suffering to $250,000, which
is not provided under Florida law.

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