If you have lost a loved one due to medical malpractice in Florida, you may be shocked to learn that you may not have the right to sue the responsible party for your loss. This is because of a loophole in Florida’s wrongful death act that has been dubbed the “Free Kill Law” by many Floridians who have been affected by it.
The Free Kill Law, as explained by Harmon Parker, states that only spouses and minor children of a decedent are allowed to pursue damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases. This means that if the victim was over 25 years old, unmarried, and without minor children, their adult children or parents cannot file a lawsuit against the negligent doctor or hospital. The law essentially gives immunity to health care providers who cause the death of a person who fits this demographic.
The law was passed in 1990 with the alleged intention of protecting consumers from high health care costs. Lawmakers believed that if people continued to sue for medical malpractice, the cost would only continue to climb. However, this argument has been debunked by many studies that show that medical malpractice lawsuits have little to no impact on health care costs or premiums. For example, according to a study by the American Action Forum, state medical liability reforms reduced total health care premiums by 2.6 percent and employer health care costs by 3.5 percent. Another study by PubMed estimated that unlimited, uncapped medical malpractice litigation added as much as $97.5 billion annually to the cost of hospital and physician services and increased the annual cost of employer-provided health insurance by as much as 12.7 percent. In fact, according to The Founders Law, Florida has one of the highest health care costs in the nation despite having the Free Kill Law in place.
The law also violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees that all people are treated equally under the law. The law discriminates against certain groups of people based on their age, marital status, and parental status, and denies them their right to seek justice for their loss. The law also devalues human life and sends a message that some lives are worth more than others.
The law also creates a double standard for wrongful death cases in Florida. If a person dies due to any other form of negligence or misconduct, such as a car crash, a defective product, or a violent crime, their adult children or parents can file a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for their loss. However, if a person dies due to medical malpractice, they are denied this right. This is unfair and illogical.
The Free Kill Law has been challenged several times in court, but it has been upheld by the Florida Supreme Court on technical grounds. However, there is still hope for change through legislative action. Several bills have been introduced in the past to repeal or amend the law, but they have failed to pass due to opposition from powerful lobbying groups such as the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Hospital Association.
However, there is a growing movement of Floridians who are demanding justice and accountability from their lawmakers and health care providers. They are organizing petitions, rallies, and campaigns to raise awareness and pressure legislators to act. They are also sharing their stories and testimonies of how the Free Kill Law has affected them and their loved ones.
If you are one of them, or if you support their cause, you can join them by signing this petition to repeal the Free Kill Law. You can also contact your local representatives and senators and urge them to support any bill that would end this unjust law. You can also spread the word on social media and among your friends and family.
The Free Kill Law is an outdated, unjust, and harmful law that needs to go. It is time for Florida to join the rest of the nation in recognizing that all lives matter and that all victims of medical malpractice deserve justice and compensation for their loss.