Supreme Court to Review Controversial Medical Malpractice Law, Patient Privacy Issues

The Florida Supreme Court has agreed to take up a challenge to a controversial law that affects victims of medical malpractice.  In 2013 the Florida Legislature passed a medical liability reform law that allows defense attorneys to speak directly and privately with someone’s doctors if they have been injured by the negligence of another.

The law has raised several objections from advocates for victims of medical malpractice who argue that the legislation violates patient privacy.  National guidelines dictated by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) grants individuals the right to keep their medical information private.  This law usurps the rights of a Plaintiff to protect their medical history and invades their personal privacy.

This law also places Plaintiffs at a severe disadvantage when litigating a medical malpractice case. There are no protections in place to prevent discussions about matters that are unrelated to the case at hand.  Further, the law would grant defense attorneys the opportunity to try to convince a doctor to testify against his or her own patient in order to protect a colleague from litigation.

Opponents to the legislation have argued that a defense attorney can access the information they need through other mediums such as requesting the medical records and deposing the doctor (under oath and with all parties present).  The Supreme Court agrees that the matter requires further review and has agreed to hear the case, though a date for oral arguments has not been set.

If you have questions about medical malpractice, or if you have a family member who has been a victim of medical negligence, please contact Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa for information.  To arrange a consultation, please call us 561-625-6260 or visit our website today