Impact Check: New bill filed to end FL’s ‘free kill’ law for everyone

Keith Davis Family Protection Act aims to lift restrictions on who can sue over deadly medical malpractice cases
Medical objects
Posted at 5:32 PM, Oct 10, 2023

A new bill filed by FL Representative Johnna Lopez, a Democrat representing parts of Orlando, aims to eliminate what critics have long called Florida’s ‘free kill’ law. House Bill 129 is also co-sponsored by republican Representative Mike Belran of Hillsborough County.

The current law prevents parents and adult children from pursuing lawsuits if an unmarried parent or adult child dies due to medical malpractice.

Last month, Sabrina Davis shared the heartbreaking story of her father’s death at a Hillsborough County hospital in 2020 after medical staff failed to diagnose a blood clot in his leg.

Related Article: Families say it’s time for Florida’s ‘free kill’ law to die; data shows they may be right

Despite evidence of malpractice, Sabrina was prevented from filing any lawsuit over her dad’s death because of the 33-year-old law.

The law was initially adopted in Florida to lure doctors into the state by protecting them from getting sued over medical malpractice and rising medical malpractice premiums.

But in a recent Impact Check investigation, Investigative Reporter Katie LaGrone discovered no data suggests the law has worked. LaGrone found federal data shows Florida consistently ranks among the top US states for medical malpractice insurance costs, caseloads, and payouts.

The new bill would lift the current restrictions, allowing parents of an unmarried adult child who dies or the adult children of an unmarried parent who dies the equal right to pursue medical malpractice lawsuits in those cases.

The bill is named the Keith Davis Family Protection Act, after Sabrina’s father.

“The fact that it has my dad's name in it, it's so powerful to me. If my dad ever knew there was such a day, I know he would be proud because this law is not the freedom that he fought for, and I will do everything to restore the rights to the people that they've taken away,” Davis said.

Send your story idea and tips to Katie LaGrone