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Florida Lawmakers Mulling Tougher Medical Malpractice Liability Legislation

Posted on March 20, 2013

The Jacksonville medical malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah have learned that a bill moving its way through the Florida House of Representatives is proposing to make it even harder to file medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals and nursing homes.

According to Health News Florida (HNF), the bill — which is being sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar) — would not only require that plaintiffs reach an even higher burden of proof to win a medical malpractice suit, but would also bar filing medical malpractice lawsuits against hospitals for mistakes made by non-employees. Coincidentally, this accounts for most doctors who work within hospital settings, according to HNF.

The House rejected an amendment to the bill that would have allowed the parents of unmarried and childless adult children to sue for malpractice. In 2003, the legislature rewrote state laws to prevent parents of adult children from recovering most medical malpractice claim damages.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that lawmakers are facing pressure from business groups, as well as from healthcare and hospital lobbyists, to “reform” medical liability and tort laws. They claim this step is necessary to be able to implement new federal health laws, decrease costs, and attract more doctors.

Opponents of the bill say it would encourage hospitals to sign more doctors to independent contracts to avoid liability. They also claim that medical malpractice insurance premiums have already dropped a healthy 36 percent in the past six years and lawsuits have gone down 50 percent in the past decade.

“Are we fixing a problem that doesn’t exist?” an Orlando-based attorney told the Times. “What we should be looking at is holding caregivers more accountable to keep premiums down.”

The law firm of Farah & Farah will continue to follow the progress of this bill as it works its way through the legislature. With the landscape of medical malpractice laws continually evolving in Florida, you need our knowledgeable and experienced legal team on your side if you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by medical malpractice. If you have questions about your legal rights, we can reached online or call us at (800) 533-3555, for a free, no-obligation consultation.