Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book (D-Davie) has filed SB 690 to revive bipartisan efforts to end Florida’s so-called “free kill” law, which prevents families from filing medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors or hospitals when the victims are adults.
“No matter who you are or who you leave behind, Florida law should apply to and protect all Floridians equally in cases of wrongful death — that’s our goal,” says Leader Book. “We are working to ensure equal protection under Florida law, and to bring our state into posture with the rest of the nation by eliminating arbitrary carve-outs which leave families of adult children and parents suffering in cases of medical malpractice.”
Florida is the only state that differentiates medical malpractice from other types of wrongful deaths for the purpose of excluding adult children and parents of adult children from seeking pain and suffering damages for wrongful death in medical malpractice cases. Current Florida law only permits medical malpractice claims by surviving spouses or minor children; anyone else has been deemed by advocates as a “free kill.” Book’s bill – backed by consumer rights groups and affected Floridians – would effectively overturn current Florida law which prevents anyone over the age of 25 from suing over the death of a parent if the parent was divorced or unmarried, and which prevents parents of unmarried or childless adults from suing.
“When it comes to human life, accountability is nonnegotiable,” says Sabrina Davis of Gainesville, who was prevented from seeking justice when her father – a 62-year-old Navy veteran – died after a medical error. “Someone’s marital status or the age their child should not determine whether the person at fault for medical malpractice is held accountable or not.”
Additionally, advocates have argued Florida’s free kill law marginalizes “standard of care” for certain categories of the population, including adults with disabilities which may have prevented them from becoming parents, women suffering from infertility, and others.