Effective July 1, 2013, the Florida Senate passed legislation that clarifies when a non-defendant physician may retain legal representation when called as a witness and limited who may qualify as an expert witness in medical negligence cases. See Senate Bill 1792 (legislative history for the law can be found here).
● The insurer may not choose an attorney for the provider, but may recommend attorneys other than the attorney representing the defendant or a prospective defendant; and
● The provider’s attorney may not disclose any information to the insurer, other than categories of work performed or time billed.
As for the second major change, the new law limits who may offer expert testimony in a medical negligence action against a specialist. Under the prior law, the experts must specialize in the same or similar specialty as the defendant. The new law requires these experts to specialize in the same medical specialty as the defendant-physician.
The plaintiffs’ bar has filed five different lawsuits in Florida state and federal court challenging the constitutionality of these reforms.