Recent legislation in Florida has made it more difficult for patients to pursue compensation from doctors and hospitals for botched procedures. In early May, SB 1792, was passed by State Senate with little fanfare. The Florida Malpractice Act requires a sworn affidavit from a doctor to initiate a claim. This often deters patients from filing a claim because the process can be expensive and many practitioners are reluctant to testify against other members of the professional community. The proposed bill redefines the qualifications to constitute as an "expert witness," further complicating the process.
Under current law, an expert witness is defined as a "healthcare provider who practices in the same or similar specialty." With the proposed bill, only doctors who specialize in the exact same area can testify. This significantly decreases an already shallow pool of professionals who are qualified and willing to testify in a malpractice lawsuit.
Another change contained in the bill would allow a defendant's doctors or hospital's lawyers to request a meeting with a plaintiff's physician. These discussions could seriously compromise confidentiality and the doctor-patient relationship. In a sense, a patient purposing a medical malpractice lawsuit must now allow disclosure of medical records and other sensitive information.
At the state level, the changes proposed by this bill seem insignificant. But at the working level, there are serious ramifications for patients seeking justice for a medical malpractice injury. A qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorney is needed now, more than ever, to help victims of medical malpractice. Attorneys atA Law Firm of Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC can assist with many types of personal injury cases, including malpractice and defective medical equipment/devices. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact us today. Your initial consultation is absolutely free and you pay no costs if we don't recover damages.