New Legislation Will Affect Medical Malpractice Cases

Even more medical malpractice reform is taking place in Florida.  House Bill 479 was recently signed into law by Governor Scott. This bill, related to medical malpractice cases, will require that any out-of-state experts obtain an “Expert Witness Certificate” before testifying in a medical negligence case.

Previous medical malpractice reform already made the system much more difficult for those injured in Florida by the medical malpractice of their health care providers. For instance, before filing suit, an injured person must do a thorough investigation and comply with all presuit statutes in Florida Law. Additionally, they are limited to a two year statute of limitations.

Part of the pre-suit investigation process includes obtaining an opinion from medical expert showing that there is a basis for a medical malpractice action. House Bill 479 will make this process even more challenging. While often out-of-state experts are often utilized due to their specialty or familiarity with a particular practice area, this legislation will essentially require that for any medical expert rendering an opinion in a medical malpractice action in Florida, the expert will now either need to hold a Florida license or obtain this “Expert Witness Certificate.” This Certificate will be issued by the Department of Health and will subject these expert witnesses to disciplinary action for offering false or misleading information as an expert witness.

While the goal of this bill is to enable a means to hold expert witnesses accountable for their testimony, the effect will be that it will create even more challenges for injured people to be compensated for the injuries sustained through medical malpractice.

At Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A., we continue to fight for your rights. If you have been injured by the medical malpractice of another, please contact us today for a free consultation.

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