Florida Medical Malpractice Expert Witnesses Subject of Recent Court Ruling By Tod Aronovitz | 01/21/14 | 0 Comment

In a victory for patients who have been injured by medical malpractice, the Florida Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the legislature to make it more difficult for experts to testify in Florida medical malpractice cases.

In 2011, Gov. Scott signed into law a bill requiring that doctors and dentists not licensed in the state of Florida obtain an “expert witness certificate” from the Florida Board of Medicine before testifying in a Florida medical malpractice case. Then, in the last legislative session, state legislators changed the medical malpractice expert statute, § 766.102, even further by introducing a bill requiring that expert witnesses called to testify for or against a defendant doctor who is a specialist must practice in the exact same specialty as the defendant doctor, eliminating language that previously allowed for experts in the same or similar field to testify.

The bill was heavily-backed by lobbyists with Florida Medical Association, but plaintiffs’ attorneys, like the lawyers at ARONOVITZ LAW who seek justice for the victims of medical malpractice, argued that the intent of the law was to make it more difficult for victims of medical malpractice to find a medical expert who is willing and qualified to testify on behalf of the patient who alleges malpractice.

Of note, the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposal on the grounds that the provision was unconstitutional, would have a chilling effect on the ability to obtain expert witnesses, and would be prejudicial to the administration of justice. As such, it could seriously interfere with Florida plaintiffs’ ability to have access to expert witnesses necessary to their case.

The Florida Supreme Court’s refusal to adopt the rule was based in part on the Board of Governors’ concerns that the rule could, indeed, have a “chilling effect” on obtaining expert witnesses to testify in Florida.

Legal experts on both sides of the Court’s ruling have varying interpretations. Defense advocates say the law still stands, while lawyers representing consumers contend that the law was ruled to be unconstitutional.

ARONOVITZ LAW: Representing Florida Consumers in Medical Malpractice Cases

The Medical Malpractice Attorney Miami law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW pursues justice for Florida citizens who have been injured by the wrongful actions or omissions of another individual, government agency, or corporation. We can assist you with civil litigation including consumer class action litigation, whistleblower cases, medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death cases.

Contact Miami, Florida medical malpractice attorney Tod Aronovitz for a confidential discussion of your case.