The Florida House of Representatives has been busy this month, with several bills to that, if made into laws, will affect medical malpractice cases. The Orlando Sentinel and Bloomberg Businessweek reported on the bills passed this session which may be detrimental to victims of negligence and medical malpractice.
One bill (HB 479) restricts the use of expert witnesses by requiring certificates for out-of-state experts to provide expert testimony. Another bill (HB 661) places a $300,000 cap for pain and suffering damages for wrongful death claims in nursing home cases.
According to Businessweek, proponents applaud these efforts to make Florida more pro-business and cut unnecessary costs associated with malpractice, while critics fear that plaintiffs’ claims will be faced with more barriers to relief for their damages. The Orlando Sentinel noted that while supporters of these bills note that Florida has faced difficult times with recruiting and retaining physicians, especially with higher premiums in Florida compared to most states, studies showed that the number of malpractice lawsuits and payouts in 2009 dropped since 2004 and the sizeable uninsured population and lack of residency-training programs in Florida were primary factors for the lack of physicians.
Nevertheless, changes are being made which will affect the way lawsuits are handled. Attorneys are constantly faced with adapting to new statutes and case precedent, creating new strategies to properly approach every case, especially in the wake of changing governance. We will continue to educate you, as well as ourselves, on new developments and changes to our legislation, so that we can continue to serve you in an intelligent and ethical manner.