The NICA Plan, supported in part by participating OBGYN's, is augmented by annual assessments paid by all Florida physicians and hospitals. Money is made available from the NICA Plan to pay for the care of children with certain birth-related neurological injuries specified by law.
Awards under the Plan are exclusive. If an injury is covered by the Plan, the child and his or her family are not entitled to compensation through malpractice lawsuits. Covered claims are paid on a no-fault basis and compensation is provided for required care throughout the life of the injured child.
NICA is an important step in Tort Reform for the Medical Community
Unlike other tort reforms that simply limit the amount of money that may be awarded through malpractice litigation, the State of Florida has created a system that resolves certain catastrophic claims in a streamlined, administrative forum intended to be in lieu of costly legal proceedings in circuit court.
Because insurance spreads risk, all physicians have benefited from NICA. Although only OBGYN's have direct coverage, the malpractice premiums for all Florida physicians have been lower for many years because most of the truly catastrophic claims have been covered by NICA - not the tort system.
Since 1988, NICA has provided a timely and cost-efficient method for allocating resources where they're needed most - to the families of young children with specified birth-related injuries. Because NICA awards are made on a no-fault basis, the need for involvement by attorneys is minimal - in many cases, a lawyer may not be required at all. The result is that a much greater percentage of resources from the NICA Plan go to pay for direct care than is the case with litigation. While in general only 60% of the money awarded by courts for similar cases goes to the plaintiffs - and the remaining 40% is spent on legal fees - the plaintiff legal fees paid out by NICA represent less than one percent of the total benefits awarded through the Plan. That means that a far greater percentage of NICA's resources go directly to the families of infants with birth-related injuries than is the case with financial awards resulting from malpractice litigation.
A mandatory annual fee of $250 is paid by every physician in Florida. This fee is now payable online by clicking the 'Pay Online' button in the above navigation.