Florida Considering Medical Malpractice Tort Reform


Florida is considering doing something about medical malpractice tort reform but different groups have different ideas about what should be done. One group is proposing a “no fault” automatic settlement system that would be similar to Florida’s workers compensation system. This system would be easier to navigate and patients would get a quicker answer to their medical malpractice claims.

Under the current medical malpractice tort system, claims can take a long time and do not always offer fair compensation to patients. Fewer than eighty percent of the victims of medical malpractice who deserve fair compensation do not receive it. This drives up the cost of healthcare as much as 25 to 30 percent. Additionally, given the restrictions and barriers placed before patients to bring a medical malpractice case trial lawyers are reluctant to take very many medical malpractice cases. A new system could remove some of the barriers and unnecessary expenses and allow patients to access their rights.

The “no fault” system would be less likely to pit the patient against the provider. It would reduce the length and costs of many lawsuits. Since there would be no blame structure the physician could stand with the patient talk to the patient. They could discuss how the procedure or treatment could have gone differently and discuss compensation that the patient needs while not penalizing the doctor in the process.

Some doctors approve of this plan. It would get the physicians and patients out of the court system. It would reduce the time to get a reimbursement from three to five years to just 180 days. Additionally, patients would be reasonably comfortable that if they have been a victim of medical malpractice that they would be compensated.

There are some groups who do not believe that there is actually a problem that needs to be solved. Back in 2003 there was a crisis that led to revisions to medical malpractice laws. This led to doctors moving to and staying in Florida. Additionally, there has been a stabilization in medical malpractice rates since 2003.

Currently this proposed “no fault” plan does not have any sponsors and the Florida Medical Association has some concerns. There needs to be more work done before the Florida legislature will seriously consider the plan. At this point the Florida Medical Association, trial lawyers, and insurers are more inclined to propose changes to the current medical malpractice system.

But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.