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Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury > Tort Reform Would Extend “Free Kill” To Nursing Homes

Tort Reform Would Extend “Free Kill” To Nursing Homes


Florida has a law on the books that makes it impossible to sue on the grounds of medical malpractice under certain situations. In other words, there would be no family who could ostensibly have standing to file a lawsuit when the victim has no relatives of a certain type.

If an unmarried individual has no living children under the age of 25, then a medical malpractice lawsuit can be blocked. A new rule would extend the provision to instances of general negligence within the context of nursing homes.

Florida once had very draconian rules related to medical malpractice in a bid to protect the industry from junk lawsuits. The rules were believed to discourage medical malpractice lawsuits in specific instances but caused a great deal of collateral damage in the effort. If extended to nursing homes, the rule could prevent or limit the vast majority of lawsuits from moving forward.

A perverse incentive to kill 

The situation is somewhat dire here. In the event that a senior survived a significant injury caused by a nursing home, they would be able to file a medical malpractice or general negligence lawsuit against the nursing home. However, if they died without a spouse or any children under the age of 25, then the nursing home could not be sued. This would give nursing homes the perverse incentive not to render care when there were no relatives left to sue on their behalf.

While other states have rules like this, they also offer the ability for grown children to file a wrongful death lawsuit when there is no one to sue on their behalf. Georgia has a similar statute that is waived when a living spouse refuses to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Such a case was recently decided by the Georgia Supreme Court in favor of a plaintiff who brought an action on behalf of a deceased father.

Some nursing homes are not safe for residents 

If COVID taught us anything, it’s that the standard of care in nursing homes is quite low. Many nursing homes across the country failed to stop the virus from spreading. In some of these cases, it was determined that the standard of care in these facilities, specifically the standard of care involving infection control, was well under the standard of care determined by the AMA and other medical organizations. It created a situation in which thousands died across the country from a failure to meet the basic needs of the nursing home’s patients.

Indeed, nursing homes contributed more deaths to COVID-19 than any major industry nationwide. This, in and of itself, is not surprising. However, some of the allegations coming out of these lawsuits indicate that the nursing homes did little or nothing to impact the rate of contagion.

Talk to a Jacksonville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today 

Gillette Law represents the interests of Jacksonville residents who have family that’s been injured or killed by the negligent conduct of nursing homes. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.



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