Florida Wrongful Death Act Under Scrutiny Amid Recent Accusation Of Medical Malpractice
Under Florida law, a wrongful death occurs when a person or entity causes another person’s death by a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor (or other medical professional) who fails to competently perform his or her medical duties.
Recently, it was reported that a Florida hospital offered to discharge an alleged malpractice victim’s bills in exchange for silence on the matter. As this information is public, it goes without saying that the victim did not accept this proposal.
The victim is the daughter of a Florida man who died after receiving treatment for a sore leg but died days later from what an autopsy determined was a 9-inch blood clot. A Florida Department of Health investigation determined there was probable cause that the doctor committed medical malpractice when he failed to treat the fatal clot.
The Florida Wrongful Death Act, however, prevents adult children 25 years or older to sue for malpractice in the death of a single parent. The law also does not allow parents to sue for malpractice in the death of a child 25 years or older. As the daughter of the deceased patient is over the age of 25, she is prevented from suing. In an act of what some may say is “good faith” from the hospital, their offer would have cleared her of her father’s medical bills, but on the condition she doesn’t speak about the incident in public.
It is important to note that hospitals are not allowed to collect on bills in cases involving malpractice. And according to state representatives, the hospital had been trying to collect their medical bills for the very service that constituted medical malpractice and led to his untimely death.
During the 2022 session, the bill allowing adult children to sue failed to pass the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee while the one that would allow parents of adult children to sue was passed easily by the House. However, many predict that the bill allowing adult children to sue will resurface next year. In the meantime, the victim says she no longer cares about suing to collect a settlement, she just wants answers.