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NICA



(The information on this site applies to Florida only)

Disclaimer:  What follows are reports of some of the significant medical malpractice cases ruled on by Florida's appellate courts and supreme court for approximately the past year.  These reports include only our brief synopsis about the legal significance of these cases, and you should always obtain and read the entire case opinion to see what else is in the opinion.  You should not attempt formal legal research on our site because we do not have full case databases nor are we able to keep our reports current on a day-to-day basis.  It should be remembered that all cases are fact specific, and even a slight change in the facts could change the outcome of these cases.        

NICA was held inapplicable when vacuum extractor caused bleeding outside the brain that led to the newborn’s death. Nagy v. Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, ___ So.2d ___, 27 FLW D591 ( Fla. 4th DCA 3-13-02 ). In the underlying NICA administrative action the experts for both sides agreed that the infant suffered a subgaleal hemorrhage (bleeding between the skull and scalp) caused by the vacuum extractor during delivery. This initial injury then led to anemia, hypertension, hypo-profusion, ischemia, cardiogenic shock, and ultimately deprivation of oxygen to the brain and the death of the baby fourteen hours after she was born. The administrative law judge ruled that this sequence of events met the statutory definition of a "birth-related neurological injury” and therefore NICA preempted the plaintiff’s tort case. The 4th DCA reversed, holding that for NICA to apply, the brain injury (or injury to the spinal cord if applicable) must actually occur during the labor, during the delivery, or during the resuscitation in the immediate post-delivery time period. The subgaleal hemorrhage that occurred during delivery was outside the brain and was therefore not a NICA qualifying injury. Although the infant’s brain was eventually significantly injured prior to her death, that happens in all deaths for any cause. Since her brain was not injured during the required time period then none of the provisions of NICA would apply.

NICA was held liable to pay damages to a physician member and his malpractice carrier for failing to timely supply the physician with NICA brochures so the physician could provide proper notice to his patients and reap the benefit of malpractice immunity.  Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association v. Feld, 793 So.2d 1070 ( Fla. 4th DCA 2001). A physician, his professional association, and their medical malpractice insurer sued the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA) for breach of contract in failing to timely supply the doctor with NICA brochures. Under 766.316 Florida Statutes the physician was required to provide notice to the patient about his participation in the NICA program and "such notice shall be provided on forms furnished by the Association.” Because NICA did not give Dr. Feld the brochures he was not able to provide the appropriate notice to a particular plaintiff and then paid damages to that plaintiff that he otherwise would have been immune from. The trial court held NICA responsible to the doctor, his professional association, and the malpractice carrier for the amount paid to settle the claim, and for attorney's fees and costs in defending the malpractice case. The 4th DCA affirmed the trial court's findings.

NOTE:  If you  are interested in NICA issues you may wish to visit our site devoted exclusively to NICA at  http://florida-nica.com/


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While our firm started in Orlando and its main office is there, for many years we have handled cases throughout Florida,.  To serve our clients better  we have opened additional satellite offices in several major Florida cities.   We use these offices to meet with our clients, take depositions, and as preparation rooms when we have trials in these cities.  When advantageous to you, we will also associate with other lawyers and law firms in some areas of the state to serve you better.  If we do associate with other lawyers on your case it will be at no additional attorney fees or expense to you. 

This site contains only general background information and is not intended to constitute specific legal advice or establish an attorney/client relationship.  Laws vary from state to state and are constantly changing.   If you think you may have a case you should promptly contact a lawyer in your state with experience in handling this type of case.

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