What is the Free Kill Statute?

What is the Free Kill Statute?

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Good morning. I’m Marcus, and welcome to this Michles & Booth video blog this week. We’re going to talk about something that’s going to
be a little bit controversial. We’ll see how how it goes. I want to talk to you a little bit about
what’s called the “free kill” statute in Florida. That’s right. That sounds pretty
offensive, but that’s what it’s called. You know in Florida doctors enjoy tremendous privileges and tremendous
status even legally. You know they don’t just get the best
tables and restaurants and the best parking places over at the hospital. They…they…they’ve acquired the respect
and the status that you would expect, but when their lobbyists and their
special interests change the laws in Florida, that’s when
it gets a little bit sticky, and here’s what I’m talking about. If you
or I are driving down the street, and we get distracted and we have happened to kill somebody in
a car accident, we’re responsible to the families of that
dead person for what we’ve done wrong, and the
definition by statute of who can bring that claim
for the dead person includes a spouse or includes the children of the deceased. That makes
sense, right? The family can bring the claim, but if a doctor commits malpractice, even if they admitted they committed it… I mean we don’t have to talk about was it malpractice or was it not malpractice. What if they admitted malpractice and
killed somebody? In the state of Florida, we have a
statute that says only a surviving spouse and only a minor child, defined as under
(age) 25, can bring the claim. So if a doctor kills a patient, let’s say they’re
seventy years old and they’re a widower or widow, they
don’t have children under 25, right? They got a whole family… they can have 10 kids… 26, 27, 28… but they lived longer than
their spouse. Their spouse predeceased them. They’re a widow or widower. The doctor can say “wow, gee, I’m sorry I
killed your loved one”, but you can’t bring a claim in Florida.
It’s a special law buried in Chapter 768. It says in a
wrongful death action, if this one’s a car accident, there’s a claim.
If it’s a medical malpractice, no claim. Now what’s really unfortunate
about that is that’s a law that was written,passed by
legislators over in Tallahassee whose campaigns received huge
contributions from doctors in the Florida Medical Association, but what’s really sad is that the courts upheld that law with this argument. They said well you know if we give the doctors a break
on this statute then the overall price of health care will come
down. It’ll be cheaper, because they won’t be picking up the tab
for the people that they kill. What? Does anybody watching really think that the cost of
health care has been affected, in other words its
less now, because the doctors aren’t having to
have their insurance companies pay the families of the people that
they killed? That’s completely illogical. The equal protection clause in Florida,
and the equal protection clause in our federal Constitution, says listen…all citizens should be the
same, right? …and if your family member gets killed by
a drunk driver or gets killed by drunk doctor, your claim should be the same; not
different, the same. …and the only argument for it being
different is the doctors’ lobbies being able to say “hey, wait. We’re special. We’re not responsible under those circumstances for killing people”. It’s something to think about. It’s
something you won’t think about, and hopefully, I pray you never have to
think about it, because I hope you don’t lose a loved
one under those circumstances, but for the families that I meet that
have lost a loved one who’s a senior citizen, who doesn’t have a minor child, and who
doesn’t have a surviving spouse but still has a considerable family of
loved ones, it’s very difficult for me to say to
that family that that law makes sense. It’s the free
kill statute in Florida, and it’s the law. We can do something about that if enough
people care. The problem is when you wake up in the
morning, you don’t predict that you’re going to be the victim of medical
malpractice, and the victims are such a small
percentage. Let me say this… health care in this state, in this city
and in this country is outstanding. Its outstanding. They’re working miracles
right down the street, right now, in the new queue at Sacred Heart Hospital for
pediatric kids. It’s fantastic what they’re able to do,
but they make mistakes. And when they make mistakes, they should be responsible for those mistakes. That’s all I’m saying. Tune in next week,
and I’ll say more. I’m Marcus Michles here at Michles &
Booth. On behalf of the firm, you go see us at ForTheVictims.com. I think it’s /blog, and you can take a
look at what I had to say before, and if you call, email, text us, tweet us and give us your comments. We’ll respond,
Thanks.

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