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FORT LAUDERDALE (AP) — A Florida court has ruled that caps on certain damages in medical malpractice lawsuits do not apply in personal injury cases.

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The Legislature in 2003 established $500,000 limits on non-economic damages for such cases. Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled they don’t apply in medical malpractice cases involving wrongful death.

The 4th District Court of Appeal extended that decision last week to personal injury cases. Attorney Crane Johnstone of Fort Lauderdale’s Schlesinger Law Offices says the ruling could open the door statewide to more personal injury medical malpractice lawsuits.

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The appeals court’s decision reinstates a $4.7 million damage award to Susan Kalitan, who sued North Broward Hospital District and other entities over complications from carpal tunnel syndrome surgery.

The decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

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