Medical Malpractice – Wrongful Death Statute Update

by | Jun 2, 2022

A few months ago, we informed you about a potential change to one of Florida’s laws. It was the Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death statute. We were hopeful this would be a much-needed change to a law that has unfairly denied parents and children the right to sue when a loved one is killed through negligent medical treatment.

Unfortunately, those families will have to wait longer for any change. According to a recent news article, that change to the law has stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It is a shame this has happened. We have had to give countless families the horrible news that, even though negligence is the unquestionable reason for the death of their loved one, the law prevents us or anyone from holding the doctor or facility accountable.

A refresher: Florida’s Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Act makes it extremely difficult to successfully bring a malpractice claim against a provider if they killed a patient through negligent actions if that patient is 1) not married, and 2) has no children under the age of 25. This means a doctor can literally kill a widowed patient with 26-year-old children, and those children would be unable to hold the doctor accountable or receive compensation for the death of their beloved parent they would have had many more years to be with.

Although the law was enacted in the ‘90s as an attempt to curb what was then seen as a spike in medical malpractice insurance rates and treatment costs, it is clear neither of that happened. Instead, insurance premiums continued to increase, treatment costs continued to increase, and Florida began attracting bad doctors whose licenses were suspended or revoked in other states since they are protected here.

We continue to hope there is some change to this law. For now, it seems we will have to continue giving bad news to families who are mourning the loss of their loved ones at the hands of a negligent doctor.

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