Just as there are consequences for the parties when they accept PVBA, parties who refuse offers of PVBA face a number of consequences built into the legislative scheme.
* Loss of the PVBA Caps on Non-economic Damages--The $250,000 PVBA noneconomic cap would not be available to the defendant.
The court in McCall, however, noted that there is a distinction between the tort reform caps and the PVBA noneconomic caps, which the court acknowledged were held to be constitutional in earlier cases.
* Reduced Caps on Noneconomic Damages--If a claimant rejects a defendant's PVBA offer, the noneconomic damages awarded at trial will be reduced to $350,000 per incident.
* Attorneys' Fees May Not Be Recovered --By refusing to accept the defendant's offer, the claimant foregoes the statutory benefit of defendants having to pay the claimant's attorneys' fees in an amount up to 15 percent of the arbitration award, as provided in the PVBA statute.
Mary's --Although PVBA provides a number of incentives to both parties to encourage early conflict resolution, the PVBA noneconomic caps may have the greatest influence in deciding to offer, accept, or reject PVBA, especially when the value of the claim consists primarily of noneconomic damages.
Mary's rule applies whether the plaintiff accepts or rejects a defense PVBA offer.
(58) In lieu of numerous tables addressing such permutations, a simple, multiple-claimant fact pattern illustrates the complexity of the interplay between the tort reform caps and the PVBA caps.
If the defendant rejects a PVBA offer by the claimants, the tort reform aggregate cap would apply, regardless of the number of claimants.59 The tort reform cap in this situation totals $500,000.60 Coincidentally, had the defendant accepted the claimant's PVBA offer, the per-claimant, aggregate PVBA cap would also be $500,000 ($250,000 per claimant under the St.
* Practical Considerations Based Upon the PVBA Track Record--To understand the practical implications and effects of PVBA, a review of previous PVBA awards may be helpful in evaluating the efficacy of making, accepting, or rejecting an offer to engage in voluntary binding arbitration.
The incentives of PVBA to the defendant must be weighed against the risk of exposure to potentially higher aggregate noneconomic damages when multiple claimants are involved, the cost of the arbitration, and the payment of the claimant's costs and attorneys' fees.
It is clear from the PVBA statutory scheme that the Florida Legislature intended to encourage parties to settle medical malpractice disputes in avoidance of litigation.