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Florida Tort Reform Overview 2012 by Victoria McCloskey

May 1, 2012
At Ogden & Sullivan, P.A. we strive to keep our clients informed of recent, significant changes in the law and the potential impact of those changes.  This past year, there were several notable amendments to Florida's laws, which are set forth below.

Crash Worthiness Doctrine - S.B. 142

Fla. Stat. 768.81 - Repeals the state's antiquated crashworthiness doctrines in cases brought against automobile manufacturers for vehicle malfunctions when there is an accident. Under the new law, juries will have all the facts and can apportion responsibility, upon a finding of liability.

Medical Liability Reform - H.B. 479

  • Fla. Stat. 458.3175 - Requires an M.D., D.O., or D.D.S. licensed in another state to obtain an expert witness certificate before being able to provide expert testimony in Florida.
  • Fla. Stat. 458.3175 -  Provides that the expert witness ho submits the pre-suit verified expert medical opinion is no longer immune from discipline.
  • Fla. Stat. 458.3175 - Gives the Boards of Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, and Dentistry the specific authority to discipline any expert witness, both those licensed in state and those with an expert witness certificate, who provide deceptive or fraudulent expert witness testimony.
  • Fla. Stat. 458.351(6) and 459.026(6) - Requires the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine to create a standard informed consent form that sets forth the recognized risks related to cataract surgery. Provides that an incident resulting from a recognized specific risk is not considered an adverse incident.
  • Fla. Stat. 627.4147 - Deletes the provision in current law that prohibits an insurance company from selling a malpractice insurance policy to a physician that gives the physician the authority to control settlement decisions.
  • Fla. Stat. 766.102 - Provides that the breach of, or failure to comply with, any federal requirement is not admissible as evidence in a medical negligence case.
  • Fla. Stat. 766.1065 - Creates a new pre-suit form, the "authorization for release of protected health information." This will make it easier for a physician to obtain the patient?s healthcare information in a malpractice suit.
  • Fla. Stat. 768.135 - Provides that volunteer team physicians are immune from suit when gratuitously rendering care at a school athletic event.
Sink Hole Litigation Reform - S.B. 408

Fla. Stat 627.706 through .7074 - Limits lawsuits and losses for property insurers stemming from sinkhole claims, while allowing policyholders with legitimate claims to be compensated.

Judgment Interest Rate Reform - H.B. 567

Fla. Stat. 55.03 - Provides that the judgment interest rate will be set in accordance with the interest rate as set by the Chief Financial Officer based on the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the preceding 12 months plus 400 basis points (4 percent). The interest rate on the judgment is to be adjusted annually on January 1 of each year.

Please contact us for further information at 813-223-5111. If you would like to know more about our attorneys, please visit us at www.ogdensullivan.com.
Law Office: 113 S. Armenia Avenue Tampa Florida 33609 | Phone: 813.223.5111 | Fax: 813.229.2336

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