Florida’s Three Strikes Rule for Medical Malpractice
Back in 2004, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment to address the severity and prevalence of medical malpractice claims in the state. The so-called “Three Strikes” rule allows the Florida Board of Medicine to revoke the medical license of any professional who receives repeated claims of medical malpractice. While the law is intended to protect patients, an exposé conducted by West Palm Beach’s WPTV and sister station ABC Action News revealed that the measure hasn’t worked as planned. Hundreds of physicians have paid out med mal claims in the last 15 years, yet only two health care providers have had their licenses taken away.
If you believe you or a loved one have been harmed by a physician’s negligence, a Florida medical malpractice attorney can help you determine the best course of action.
What does the “three strikes” rule say? According to the statutory language, no medical doctor can be licensed or keep their license after committing in excess of three incidents of medical malpractice. For purposes of the rule, “medical malpractice” means the failure to use the level of care and skill recognized in that health care provider’s specialty area – a definition that coincides with Florida’s statute on medical negligence.
How does a physician earn a “strike”? The law specifically provides that there are three scenarios in which a practitioner’s error can be considered medical malpractice, leading to a “strike” against his or her license to practice medicine:
- A judge or jury found that the doctor engaged in medical malpractice, in handing down a final judgment after an official trial;
- An administrative agency made the determination that the physician’s act constitutes malpractice; or,
- A panel decided that the health care provider engaged in malpractice after conducting a binding arbitration proceeding.
What happens if the provider settles a medical malpractice case? It is NOT considered a “strike” against the doctor’s license if he or she settles a med mal claim through an insurance company. The theory is that there is no objective finding of wrongdoing in the insurance claims process, as opposed to a factual determination by a tribunal.
Does a “strike” affect my med mal claim? A doctor’s accumulation of strikes affects his or her license, and does not directly impact your claim with an insurance company or a med mal lawsuit. Your case depends upon being able to show the elements of a medical malpractice case: The failure to use proper care in providing treatment, which resulted in your injuries.
You Can Trust a Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
Though physicians are held accountable under the Three Strikes rule, you could still be entitled to recover compensation even after suffering harm in the first instance of medical malpractice. Our Miami medical malpractice attorneys Freidin Brown, P.A. are happy to answer additional questions and provide more information about med mal claims, so please contact to set up a free consultation. We can meet with you at our offices to review your situation.