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Florida

Recent Reforms Enacted (since 2003) Caps non-economic damages for physicians, other than in emergency care cases, at $500,000 with the exception of cases resulting in wrongful death or permanent vegetative state. Reforms expert witness law to require that the expert must be in the same or similar specialty as the defendant. (2003) Attorney contingency fees capped. (2004) Joint and Several Liability reform enacted (2006).  In 2011- Requirement that out of state physicians obtain a certificate from the Department of Health to provide expert witness testimony in medical liability cases and empowers the state medical and osteopathic boards to discipline those physicians for providing false or misleading testimony. (2011).
Emergency Care Provision Physicians providing emergency care are subject to a noneconomic cap of only $150,000 with no exceptions. "Reckless disregard" must be proven in order for physicians to be held liable in cases where they provide EMTALA related emergency care. (amendment to Good Samaritan Act)
Reform Elements In Law $500K Cap
$150K Cap for emergency care
Collateral Source
Attorney Fee Limit
Periodic Payment
Expert Witness
Affidavit of Merit
Reckless Disregard
Joint Liability
Constitutional Status of Reforms Challenge Anticipated. SB 1792, builds upon historic medical liability reforms that the FMA successfully championed in 2011, goes even further in helping physicians practice medicine by requiring an expert medical witness to be in the same specialty as the defendant physician. (2013)
Change in Insurance Rates An FSU College of Medicine survey of rural physicians revealed an average increase in premiums of 93.5% in 2004. GE Medical Protective raised rates 45% in 2004. Medical Protective reduced premiums by an average of 8.7% in 2005.  FPIC, the state's largest liability insurer, said it would hold rates steady in 2006.  In 2010, the Office of Insurance Regulation reported that avg. premums fell 10.8% in 2009.  In 2011, the Office of Insurance Reg. reports that from 2004-2009  total premiums dropped form $860M to $550M. But average premiums were $42K for primary care physicians and $171K for specialists.
Insurance Availability The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported four new insurers entering the state at the end of 2003. Six new insurers entered the market from 2003 to 2005. In 2010, the Office of Insurance Regulation reported that 10 new insurers entered the state in 2009.
Change in Physician Availability Information not available.
Change in Cases Filed/Awards 1261 paid claims in 2003 or 28.4 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 18.8 per 1000.  1096 paid claims in 2005 or 24.4 per 1000 active nonfederal physicians.  US avg. was 17.1 per 1000. (Kaiser) 822 total number of paid claims for 2006 of which 14.7 paid claims per 1,000 were active, non-federal physicians.  785 paid claims in 2007. In 2011, the Office of Insurance Regulation reported that between 2004-2009, total closed claims dropped from 3574 to 3087 and total damages dropped from $664M to $570M.
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