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June 2001 - Florida Enacts Sweeping Nursing Home Reform Bill

Florida has passed a tort reform bill that is likely to affect future multimillion-dollar settlements and jury verdicts against the state's nursing homes. The measure significantly curbs nursing home negligence cases and brings them more in line with medical malpractice litigation. The bill was passed in response to the industry's calls for tort reform to end skyrocketing insurance liability rates.

Similar to restrictions in medical malpractice cases, the bill includes the repeal of the attorneys' fees provision (except for injunctive actions), the shortening of the statute of limitation, limiting 'double-dipping' on damages, and the replacement of the negligence per se standard with a clearly drafted negligence standard. The bill raises mandatory staffing requirements and provides $77 million to nursing homes to improve the quality of care.

"Nursing home operators were having a tremendously difficult time finding insurance carriers," said Andrew McCumber, a defense attorney in Tampa, who worked extensively on the legislation. The bill will hopefully "make insurance somewhat more affordable," he said. It applies to all lawsuits filed after May 15, and "restates principles that should have applied in nursing home cases but that have been disregarded by trial judges," McCumber said.

"We have something here which is going to substantially improve the quality of care for all our elders," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite (R).

is committed to upholding the quality of care in our long-term care institutions by taking swift legal action to compensate nursing home residents and their families for injuries resulting from neglect or inadequate care. Only this way will the quality of care for all residents be assured. If you feel that you or a loved one has been victimized by medical malpractice while in the care of a senior citizen facility, call now at or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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