Bill Passed by Florida Legislature to Make it More Difficult for Victims to Sue for Medical Malpractice

Posted on May 18, 2011

Patients injured by incidents of medical malpractice in Florida will find it more difficult to hold the hospital or medical staff accountable thanks to a bill recently passed by the Florida Legislature. The bill, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, will make it more difficult for victims of medical malpractice to bring medical witnesses from outside Florida to testify as an expert.

House Bill 479 was supported by the medical lobby and it gives the Florida Medical Board the right to discipline doctors who come into the state and provide “deceptive or fraudulent” testimony in a medical malpractice case. The measure is supposed to make it friendlier for doctors to practice in the state by lowering insurance premiums, but in effect, it takes aim at injured patients since many expert witnesses come from out of state.

In 2003, the legislature placed limits on what an injured patient can win in a medical malpractice case, however medical malpractice premiums have not declined, reports the News Service of Florida. Additionally, Medicaid patients who sue a doctor, hospital, or surgical center for pain and suffering will face a $300,000 cap on damages. Bringing these lawsuits is costly and time-consuming and many law firms will decline these cases if the damage award is capped, and that’s the point.

The public seems to agree that reining in malpractice lawsuits is a good thing – until they or a loved one suffer from a medical error with debilitating or fatal results. An estimated 200,000 Americans are killed by medical errors every year, according the report “Dead by Mistake”, an investigation by the Hearst Newspaper chain in March 2010.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury or an illness as the result of medical malpractice, the Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyers at Farah & Farah believe you should retain the right to hold the wrongdoer accountable and we will assist you in any way we can.

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