top of page

2023 Florida Legislative Session: Four bills on Free Kill - Two to end, Two to extend

More controversy surrounds the people's continuous request to end the Florida Free Kill law than ever before. This year, legislators have stepped up again and filed a bill in both the Florida House and Florida Senate to repeal Florida's Wrongful Death Act. The wrongful death act precludes the family of any unmarried adult over the age of 25, with no minor children from seeking redress in a court of law, in the case of negligent death. This applies only to medical malpractice.

If a surgeon kills someone in a drunk driving accident, s/he would be held accountable in a court of law. But if that same surgeon kills someone by failing to close properly on the operating table, if the patient falls into the Free Kill category, the doctor gets a free pass. This law has been in existence since 1990. It has given hospital corporations a free pass to short staff hospitals, sometimes to dangerous levels. 48% of Florida hospitals are private for profit corporations whose bottom dollar holds a higher value than quality patient care.

2023's Free Kill bills:

HB 1435: Damages Recoverable in Wrongful Death Actions

GENERAL BILL by López, J. ; (CO-INTRODUCERS) Beltran ; Daley ; Eskamani ; Garcia ; Hinson ; Killebrew ; Roach ; Waldron

SB 690: Damages Recoverable in Wrongful Death Actions General Bill by Book (CO-SPONSORS) Gruters Damages Recoverable in Wrongful Death Actions: Removing a provision that prohibits adult children and parents of adult children from recovering certain damages in medical negligence suits, etc.

Numerous advocates took to the capital last week to let legislators know how important a repeal of this law is to them personally.

Offsetting the charge to end Free Kill, there are legislators with a sinister agenda. Two bills have been filed that benefit hospital and medical malpractice insurance corporations. CS/SB 236 could effectively lessen the time allowed for statute of limitations for parties who live through a medically negligent event, as well as putting new restrictions on what actually qualifies for negligence. The caveat of the bill changes the law in a way that would make it much harder for lawyers to take a case on contingency, because it would disallow the victim from pushing legal fees to the wrongful corporation in a lawsuit. The bill filer, Senator Travis Huston, represents parts of Flagler, St Johns and Volusia counties.

The second bill, HB 1029 would effectively extend the Free Kill law/Wrongful death act into nursing homes and put all of our seniors at great risk. These corporations would no longer be liable if a client was harmed and death resulted.

This bill was filed by House Rep Maggard, whose profile states that he is a "VP of a Corporation" without stating the corporation name. In addition, he is the Republican Whip on the Judiciary committee. The Judiciary committee is the first stop for SB 690, should it be heard. Clearly there is a conflicting school of thought here that could potentially block 690. If 690 is not heard, the block lies with Maggard.

Rep Randall Scott Maggard is a junior rep, having been elected in the November 2022 election and is from Dade City.

CS/SB 236 GENERAL BILL by Banking and Insurance ; Hutson

Civil Remedies; Creating a rebuttable presumption that a lodestar fee is a sufficient and reasonable attorney fee in most civil actions; reducing the statute of limitations for negligence actions; providing standards for bad faith actions; providing standards for the admissibility of evidence to prove the cost of damages for medical expenses in certain civil actions; providing that a party in a negligence action who is at fault by a specified amount may not recover damages under a comparative negligence action, etc.

HB 1029: Claims Against Long-term Care Facilities


Claims Against Long-term Care Facilities; Provides requirements for admissible evidence for claim for residents' rights violation or alleged negligence & corroboration of such claim as to each prospective defendant; provides requirements for specified cause of action; provides immunity from liability for certain individuals; prohibits cause of action to be asserted against certain individuals or entities; provides requirements for residents' records; provides for indemnification of facility under certain circumstances.

To expand free kill to nursing home residents hb 1029


bottom of page