Florida personal injury lawyers scored a win for medical malpractice victims when the state Supreme Court recently decided to reinstate protections for patient confidentiality in medical negligence cases.
It all began with a toothache.
Broward County resident Ramsey Hasan’s oral health took a turn for the worse after a visit to a local dentist in 2011, and Hasan sued the practitioner for maxillofacial malpractice. In the course of the proceedings, Hasan scheduled a deposition with the oral surgeon who had since taken over his care. Then Hasan found out that the insurance company which was defending the original dentist had scheduled a private, pre-deposition conference with his new dentist.
Hasan cried foul, citing doctor-patient confidentiality. Insurance company lawyers, he argued, should not be able to privately interview doctors who are treating a plaintiff about their patient’s medical conditions. This set off a long-running skirmish in the ongoing legislative and political battle between personal injury lawyers and hospital insurance companies in Tallahassee over the course of medical malpractice litigation in Florida.
The trial court denied Hasan’s bid for a protective order to prevent the insurance company from interviewing his dentist. An appeals court upheld the decision. But then, in 2012, the Florida Supreme Court reversed the appellate decision. The court cited the “expansive physician-patient privilege of confidentiality for the patient’s personal information” in Florida law.
Personal Injury Lawyers Fight for Florida Malpractice Victims
Lobbyists for doctors and insurance companies then went to work on the legislature, which passed a law in 2013 requiring patients to sign forms waiving doctor-patient confidentiality relevant to malpractice claims.
Lawyers immediately stuck back. They challenged the law with a case involving a woman whose husband had died as a result of alleged medical malpractice. The Florida Justice Association, the personal injury lawyers organization, said the law requires patients to disclose private medical and health information “without a compelling need for that information, in overly broad fashion without adequate safeguards against unnecessary disclosure, and without notice or opportunity to limit those disclosures.”
But, in 2015, the 1st District Court of Appeal ruling upheld the law.
Undaunted, the trial lawyers took the case to the Florida Supreme Court, which issued the latest ruling. They struck down the waiver provision of the 2013 law — and said the doctor-patient confidentiality even applies to patients who have died.
So it’s a win for medical malpractice victims – for now. The battle continues. The Florida medical malpractice lawyers at Martinez Manglardi have been fighting for medical malpractice injury victims for 30 years — and they are passionate about victim’s rights. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation