Florida Bill Close to Changing Face of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

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A bill, recently passed by the Florida Senate and House, is on the way to Governor Rick Scott for approval. The proposed legislation, containing two major provisions, could make Florida among the most difficult states in which to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The first provision will restrict the type of expert witnesses that may testify during the trial phase of a medical malpractice suit. According to the new bill, medical expert witnesses on both plaintiff and defense sides must practice the exact same type of medicine, as opposed to simply working in similar fields.

The second provision of the new bill, regarding the pre-lawsuit fact-finding phase of a medical malpractice suit, will limit patient confidentiality. The bill will allow a physician’s defense lawyer to ask a patient’s subsequent healthcare providers for information on the patient and his or her previous treatments.

The Republican-backed bill is stirring controversy, as critics see it as a detriment to the rights of Floridian patients and consumers. On the other hand, the legislation can be seen as a “victory” for Florida doctors, as it protects them from unfair imbalances in the tort system.

Read more about the Florida medical malpractice legislation here.