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Woman Denied Justice Under Florida’s “Free Kill Law”


We wrote last post about a new law being proposed that would make lawsuits against nursing homes similar to Florida’s medical malpractice rules. There was a time when lawsuits against doctors were capped and the types of lawsuits that could be filed were restricted. A State Supreme Court decision overturned half of the law while leaving the remainder in place. Essentially, an individual who is over the age of 25 and unmarried without children would have no one who was allowed to sue on their behalf. Florida rules prevent such a suit from being filed by a parent who recently lost a child. The law only pertains to medical malpractice lawsuits. All other types of torts are allowed to move forward.

The law was passed in response to an apparent influx of medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors that were more or less baseless (according to politicians who back the law). The incentive was that it would reduce the costs of healthcare across the board. In the decade that the medical malpractice rules remained on the books, healthcare for Floridians continued to skyrocket. Now, with costs out of control, many believe the failed law will help reduce costs related to insurance coverage and more. But mostly, it prevents grieving people from ever finding out why their loved one died.

Lawsuits are about more than money 

The system of torts acts as a deterrent to bad and negligent actors. However, it also provides grieving families with a way to hold someone accountable for their negligence or malice. In the case of medical malpractice, patients suffer catastrophic injuries or die during routine procedures and the family or victim wants to know why. If the patient survives, then the hospital has a problem. The patient can file a lawsuit to recover damages related to decreased quality of life, subsequent medical care, and lost wages. If the patient dies, has no spouse, no children, and is over the age of 25, then no one can sue on their behalf. This creates a perverse incentive to allow a patient who fits those criteria to die. It would, after all, save the doctor a lawsuit and a lot of money.

While we seldom think of doctors as being financially motivated, they are motivated to preserve their reputation. If no one is allowed to sue, there is no incentive to investigate the issue which allows doctors to operate under a zero-risk system.

Now, a Tampa Bay mom is attempting to lobby Florida legislators to change the current law which has survived attempts to challenge it in the State Supreme Court. She may be facing an uphill battle as recent pushes aim at extending the law to nursing homes. The provision would prevent 90% of the wrongful death cases currently on file against negligent nursing homes.

Talk to a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Payer Law represents the interests of Miami residents who have been injured due to malice or negligence. Call our Miami personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.


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