Peer-influenced content. Sources you trust. No registration required. This is HCN.

MDLinxFlorida’s ‘Free Kill’ Law Makes it Nearly Impossible for Patients to Reach a Malpractice Settlement

Is Florida’s “Free Kill” Law Protecting Physicians or Limiting Justice for Families?

Florida’s controversial “Free Kill” law, in effect since 1990, has been a subject of debate and concern. This law restricts the ability of adult children and parents of anyone over 25 to file for medical malpractice in the event of wrongful death. Although proponents argue that it prevents frivolous lawsuits and keeps insurance premiums low, opponents believe that the law’s arbitrary age limits harm families and reduce standards of care.

Key Points:

  • Florida’s “Free Kill” law prevents adult children and parents of anyone more than 25 years of age from filing for medical malpractice in wrongful death cases.
  • The law has been in place since 1990, aiming to lower insurance costs and prevent physicians from leaving the state.
  • Five different bills to change this law have been introduced in the past two years, but none have succeeded.
  • Florida is the only state in the US to have an age limit for wrongful death cases in medical settings.
  • Recent changes to Florida malpractice law include reducing the statute of limitation for filing medical negligence claims from four years to two years.

Additional Points:

  • Critics argue that the law disproportionately harms certain demographics, such as disabled adults.
  • A recent bill, HB 1029, could have expanded the “Free Kill” law to nursing homes, eliminating 90% of nursing home-based wrongful death suits.
  • The Florida Supreme Court ruled that defense teams in medical malpractice cases can call for an appeal mid-trial based on the qualifications of a plaintiff’s expert witness.


  • The “Free Kill” law continues to be a contentious issue in Florida, with strong opinions on both sides. Although some see it as a necessary protection for physicians, others view it as a barrier to justice for families. The debate is likely to continue, with potential legislative changes in the near future.

Related Posts

“Different state laws [inform] whether a plaintiff’s attorney will even take on a case.”

David L. Feldman, MD
Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Healthcare Risk Advisors

Chief Medical Officer
The Doctors Company
The Healthcare Communications Network is owned and operated by IQVIA Inc.

Click below to leave this site and continue to IQVIA’s Privacy Choices form