Medical Malpractice Bill Clears Committee

A bill that would further reform medical malpractice suits in Florida has been approved by a House panel.

The Health Care Appropriations subcommittee approved the bill (HB 479) by a vote of 11-3 on Friday. But it also retained the bill in committee. That means committee members will have another chance to consider the measure.

The bill increases the burden of proof for plaintiffs to win medical malpractice cases. It largely makes hospitals blameless for the errors of their doctors. And it provides for punishment of doctors who offer expert testimony found to be false or misleading.

The last major reform was in 2004 when Florida voters approved three initiatives. One created a patients’ declaration of rights. The others limited attorneys’ fees and banned doctors with three malpractice judgments.