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New law: Zero Accountability for Medical Negligence (when you live through it)

Thanks to the Florida Legislature, negligence is now accepted as the new normal in the Florida health care system, for anyone who lives through it. What once was a problem for a smaller subsection of people (known as Florida Free Kills, defined as anyone who died from negligence and was over age 25 with no minor children) now applies to all persons who live through medical negligence. As of July 1st, there is no accountability unless the negligence is defined as gross. Negligence categories have now been redefined. The new gross negligence definition is extremely subjective and therefore any case can be thrown out and not heard in any court of law in Florida. See the new definitions below.

Standards of Care and Degrees of Negligence Courts have developed general definitions for the degrees of negligence.

Slight Negligence

Slight negligence is generally defined to mean the failure to exercise a great amount of care typical of an extraordinarily prudent person.

Ordinary Negligence

Ordinary negligence, which is also referred to as simple negligence, is the standard of care applied to the vast majority of negligence cases. It is characterized as the conduct that a reasonable and prudent person would know could possibly cause injury to a person or property.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence means the failure of a person to exercise slight care.

Florida courts have defined gross negligence as the type of conduct that a “reasonably prudent person knows will probably and most likely result in injury to another” person.

In order for a plaintiff to succeed on a claim involving gross negligence, he or she must prove:  Circumstances, which, when taken together, create a clear and present danger;  Awareness that the danger exists; and  A conscious voluntary act or omission to act that will likely result in an injury.

Effectively what they are saying is that it is perfectly acceptable to be negligent, as long as you are not aware of your negligence. There is no re-education. Negligent practitioners will not be corrected, rather they will continue on without being required to learn from their mistakes and without punishment, unless someone can prove that they knew better.

Wrong is wrong. Ignorance is not an excuse for causing injury.

The burden of proof now lies with the injured.

The offender gets off scott free, unless they admit they were consciously causing harm.

To avoid a lawsuit a practitioner merely has to say "I was unaware"

This philosophy is incredibly wrong from a moral standpoint. It is obvious that the legislators who voted in favor of this were influenced by hospital and medical political action committees who donate campaign contributions to ensure that legislators see things their way.

This new law comes from CS/CS/SB 236. This Civil Remedies bill passed the full Florida House and Senate. What this means: If you suffer from medical negligence that caused grave harm, and lived through it, new rules apply that make it almost impossible to file suit. Aside from redefining levels of negligence, additional rules include the following:

1.  It is almost impossible for a lawyer to take your negligence case. If they do, they are at risk of not being paid at all. This bill repeals Florida’s one-way attorney fee provisions for insurance cases, while maintaining the ability to award attorney fees to an owner, contractor, subcontractor, laborer or materialman that prevails in a claim against a construction surety bond.  Creates a limited ability to recover attorney's fees from an insurance company after a total coverage denial through a declaratory judgment action.

2. The statute of limitations to file suit has been decreased from 4 years to 2 years. Since it can take up to a year for a case filing to be scheduled, this takes a lot of time out of the discovery process and proof of injury.

3. If the malpractice act affects multiple persons, there is a new cap limiting the damages to the amount the offender's policy for only one error/one person. For example if a provider injects multiple patients with a drug that has been mishandled and causes flesh eating bacteria, loss of limb, loss of eyesight etc, if the policy covers the error for only one patient, then the second patient and beyond will have no recourse.

4. The rules on the burden of proof have more astringent requirements, making it nearly impossible to prove negligence, even when there is real evidence presented. A case does not have to be tried unless the burden of proof meets the criteria of "Gross Negligence".

Read the bill in full here:

This goes into effect on July 1, 2023 and has been approved by

Governor Ron DeSantis.

Want to know how your Senator voted?

Votes in Judiciary:

Votes in Fiscal Policy:

Full House Vote


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