Practicing Medicine in Florida Hurting Hour Pocketbook?
By: Mark Wilson
Physicians are Paying More to Provide Healthcare Services
84 percent more.
That’s what physician’s practicing medicine in Florida are paying for medical malpractice coverage compared to other state premiums. And the reason is because of Florida’s abysmal lawsuit abuse climate.
In past years, Florida’s former activist Supreme Court dismantled important legal reform efforts, which ultimately drove up the cost of medical malpractice claims. In fact, the cost of insurance has forced some providers to purchase less insurance, resulting in lower insurance limits, big verdicts, and companies forced to settle to avoid a bad faith claim – further driving up the cost of medical malpractice insurance.
It’s not only costing healthcare providers, it’s costing Florida families too. In fact, studies show that every Florida household’s share of the lawsuit system is $4,442. That’s $1,100 a year more than the national average.
And it’s among the reasons that Florida’s abysmal lawsuit climate was just ranked among the five worst states in the country – 46 out of 50 according to the latest national survey.
The 2019 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States was conducted by the renowned polling firm The Harris Poll on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, and it questioned senior business executives about the fairness and reasonableness of state court systems.
Miami-Dade County, a trial lawyer haven, has the worst litigation environment in the entire country, according to 13 percent of those surveyed. Even more concerning is that 89 percent of executives surveyed said a state’s lawsuit climate is becoming a more significant factor when deciding where to locate or grow additional jobs.
Said differently, Florida’s legal climate could cost Florida new jobs.Thankfully, Florida leaders are turning the page to ensure sunnier days are ahead.
Sunnier Days Are Ahead for Florida’s Lawsuit Climate
Change is already happening to move Florida’s lawsuit abuse climate in the right direction. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ three recent appointments to the Florida Supreme Court have transformed the high court, and an empowered state legislature is more willing to take on billboard trial lawyers.
In May, the Supreme Court rightly adopted a rule called the Daubert standard to keep junk science out of the courtroom. The rule was already in place in 40 other states and the federal courts, giving a huge win to free enterprise that had faced an onslaught of litigation based on faulty science.
Additionally, the legislature also indicated they are ready to turn things around now that they have willing partners in both the executive and judicial branches. For the past six years, homeowners have been dealing with increasing property insurance rates partly due to trial lawyers filing get-rich-quick lawsuits. This year, the Florida legislature finally passed a bipartisan consumer protection measure to end the abusive assignment of benefits (AOB) practice, which Gov. DeSantis signed into law. The Legislature also tackled the “dangerous instrumentality doctrine,” a Florida-only court-created doctrine that allowed billboard trial lawyers to go after deeper pockets.
Keeping the momentum going is essential to tackle issues like bad faith, AOB auto glass and “truth in damages.”
Florida Chamber is Uniting the Businesses Community
The Florida Chamber is uniting the business community behind the common goal of transforming our legal climate from the bottom five to tops in the nation. We’re taking on decades of lawsuit abuse and declaring war on Florida’s poor lawsuit climate.
Florida’s bottom five legal climate reflects its past, not its future, and it’s why we’ve joined with Gov. DeSantis and the Florida legislature to put consumers over trial lawyers.
“If we make the (legal climate) so it’s based on the clients rather than the attorneys, I think that would be a better climate.”Governor Ron DeSantis
Help Fix Florida’s Broken Legal System
As Florida competes to be a top 10 global economy by 2030, improving its legal climate is essential. The Florida Chamber of Commerce is leading the charge, and will continue efforts to reduce out-of-control litigation while protecting consumers and job creators alike.
–Sign the Petition to Fix Florida’s Broken Legal System
-Help Develop the Florida Business Agenda by Taking the Florida’s Chamber’s Survey.
-ICYMI: Arbitration Under Attack in Washington While Florida Politicians Work for Real Legal Reforms, State Chamber Says
September 30, 2019