The Wrongful Death Act Control the Elements of Damages In Medical Malpractice Arbitration Cases

In St. Mary's Hospital, Inc. v. Phillipe, 769 So. 2d 961, 972 (Fla. 2000), the court was faced with the issue of whether the elements of economic damages awardable in the voluntary binding arbitration of a medical malpractice wrongful death claim were controlled by the Medical Malpractice Act or the Wrongful Death Act. The court concluded "that the arbitration provisions of the Medical Malpractice Act expressly specify the elements of all of the damages available when the parties agree to binding arbitration, regardless of whether the medical malpractice action involves a wrongful death." Id. at 973. In other words, "if the Legislature intended for the Wrongful Death Act to control the elements of damages available in a medical malpractice arbitration, it could have specifically provided for the application of that Act in the Medical Malpractice Act." Id.