Medical malpractice in Miami and across the state causes much suffering and costs far too many lives each year. Worse, victims of medical malpractice often have a hard time getting justice and compensation in their cases. Hospitals, doctors, and clinics are protected by powerful insurance companies and when a serious incident occurs these companies step in immediately to reduce liability for their clients. A family struggling with a complication or birth injury in Miami or another community caused by negligence may be left without adequate financial support in these cases, making it difficult to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
Florida legislators are taking steps that could help those who have been injured through medical malpractice. The new Florida House bill, HB 739, also known as the Patients’ Compensation System, would create a new system for handling medical malpractice claims. The new system would create a panel of doctors and specialists to review claims and would help patients find small claims attorneys.
The bill is intended to simplify the current system and reduce insurance costs and legislators say it will help injured patients get better access to justice and compensation. Currently, according to experts, the system does not serve injured patients very well. Some statistics suggest that out of 17 percent of injuries linked to medical negligence, only about ten percent result in legal claims and only four percent result in recovery of compensation for the victim. In some cases, victims have a hard time even finding legal assistance, since the costs of medical malpractice litigation are so high.
If passed, the new bill would require patients injured by medical malpractice to file a claim. Once they did so, a board of experts would review the claim and would decide whether the patient should receive any compensation. An administrative judge would hear appeals.
A number of doctors have spoken out against the bill so far, largely because the new bill would not require proof of negligence in order to pay out compensation. However, supporters of the bill have stated the legislation would mean many benefits, such as:
•Cases would be resolved in six to nine months, while many personal injury cases in Miami and Florida now take much longer
•Doctors would not need to order unneeded tests to protect themselves from lawsuits
•The costs of trials would be eliminated, reducing insurance costs
•Even patients who do not qualify for a personal injury claim or who have trouble finding an attorney would qualify for compensation
•Plaintiffs would not need to prove negligence under the new system
There is some debate about whether the new legislation is likely to pass, given how difficult it is to create changes in the medical malpractice system.
Have you been injured due to medical negligence? Under the current system, you may still qualify for compensation that can help you pay for lost wages, medical bills, and more. If you have had a negative outcome in a medical setting, contact Flaxman Law Group to find out whether negligence played a role and to find out whether you qualify for compensation. Your initial case assessment is confidential and comes with no cost and no obligation.