Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
Link Successfully Copied to Clipboard!

Florida: Adding Insult to Injury

As a personal injury attorney who is licensed in Florida, it is important for me to inform you of the recent changes to Florida's tort laws.

Devon Williamson
April 13, 2023
Devon Williamson
April 13, 2023

As a personal injury attorney who is licensed in Florida, it is important for me to inform you of the recent changes to Florida's tort laws. On March 24, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 837 into law, which significantly affects how personal injury claims are handled within the state.

One major change is the reduction of the statute of limitations for negligence actions from four years to two years. This means that injured claimants now have only half the amount of time they previously had to figure out the extent of their injuries if they want any chance at settling their case pre-lawsuit. This is particularly difficult for those with severe injuries who need the time and proper treatment to determine if their injuries are permanent. This new law will now force injured claimants to have to undergo the stresses of litigation when likely the matter could have been resolved pre-lawsuit had they had more time like they did under the previous law.

Another change is the additional protections provided to insurance carriers against bad-faith claims. HB 837 outlines specific mechanisms to avoid bad-faith, which immunizes the carrier from a bad-faith suit when it tenders its policy limits (or the amount sought in the demand, whichever is lesser) within 90 days of the demand. Of critical importance to carriers, failure to tender payment within this 90-day safe harbor period is not evidence of bad faith and is inadmissible as evidence of bad faith in a court of law. Further, HB 837 codifies that "mere negligence" alone is insufficient to establish a bad-faith claim, thereby requiring an injured claimant to prove a heightened showing of bad faith to establish his or her claim.

The law also modifies Florida's comparative fault law to bar an injured claimant's recovery completely if he or she is more than 50% at fault for the accident. This is a change from Florida's traditional pure comparative fault state, where plaintiffs could recover damages in a personal injury action even if they were mostly or nearly entirely at fault for their own damages. This is earth-shattering news for plaintiffs who sustain life-threatening or permanent injuries from an accident that they were not even fully at fault for.

Furthermore, HB 837 expands the types of damages evidence that can be presented in a personal injury or wrongful death matter. For instance, evidence can be admitted concerning the amounts that health insurance would have paid if the plaintiff submitted his or her medical bills to health insurance. The jury can now effectively decide to award injured claimants an even lower amount than what the actual medical service costs, which reduces the value of injured claimants' cases and awards them less for the treatment they had to undergo as it relates to the accident.

If you are a Florida citizen or have been injured in the state of Florida, it is important to seek the advice of an attorney to walk you through these new and unfortunate changes for injured claimants.

At DevonLaw, we make sure you know and understand your rights and what you are entitled to. And we will never stop fighting for you.

**If you would like to discuss your case, contact us online or call us any time at (615) 623-0232 for a free consultation.

Are You Getting What Your Case Is Worth?

If you have been injured in an accident, your case may be worth more than you think. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation to discuss your case.