2013 Legislation Affecting Medical Malpractice Cases
In 2013, the Florida Legislature made two significant changes to Florida’s medical malpractice law that the Governor did sign into law. First, lawyers for the defendant will now be able to request conferences with the patient’s treating doctors. This is a significant change from existing law, which prohibited these “ex-parte” contacts. The defense lawyer, however, must give the patient’s lawyer 15 days’ notice and the patient’s lawyer then has the right to schedule that conference. Nothing in this bill actually forces a treating physician to meet with the defense lawyer.
The second change restricts the qualifications of medical experts that can testify. This provision, however, leaves room for much debate because often times doctors may have different “specilizations” by their label but they perform the same procedures, surgeries, or diagnosis of other doctors that may have a different “specialization” label. An example would be nuerolgical spine surgeon vs. an orthopedic spine surgeon. Both do many of the exact same surgeries, but they have different board-certification labels.
At PDM, we were present at the State Capitol for these debates. Skip Pita testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the proposed changes. At PDM, we are prepared for the changes in the law.