Big Changes to the Law That Will Impact Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit
Florida laws are constantly changing, through acts by our state legislature and decisions by appellate courts. The personal injury laws in our state also undergo changes from time to time. Early in 2023, Florida’s laws governing personal injury and wrongful death claims underwent significant changes, which will have far-reaching implications for all parties involved.
As a leading law firm specializing in personal injury cases, Hersh Kirtman Injury Law is dedicated to staying at the forefront of these developments to provide the best possible legal representation for their clients. At Hersh Kirtman Injury Law, we understand the nuances of these new laws and are committed to helping our clients navigate the complex legal landscape to achieve the best possible outcomes in their personal injury cases.
Personal Injury Law Changes That Will Impact Your Claim
Personal injury lawsuits are an essential legal recourse for individuals seeking compensation for injuries and damages caused by the negligence or misconduct of others. In Florida, recent legislative changes have drastically modified the laws applicable to personal injury and wrongful death claims.
Bad-Faith Insurance Claims
Bad-faith insurance claims refer to situations where an insurance company fails to act in good faith when handling claims made by policyholders or when protecting a policyholder from a claim brought by a victim against that policyholder. Insurance companies owe policyholders in Florida various duties of good faith, including to protect policyholders by paying policy limits or resolving claims when given the opportunity to do so. If an insurance company prioritizes saving money and profits at the expense of an insured, exposing that insured to potential personal exposure over and above the policy limits, that insurance company may not have acted in good faith and may be responsible for payment above the policy limits. These laws in Florida have helped protect individuals and businesses by ensuring insurance companies do the right thing and not put themselves above the insured individuals and businesses in this state.
Under the new tort reform bill passed in 2023, insurance companies are afforded protections by, among other things, giving them a safe harbor period and increasing the burden imposed on claimants when attempting to prove bad faith conduct by an insurance company.
The new law increases the possibility that insurance companies will not pay when they reasonably should do so to protect their insureds and resolve claims, leaving claimants with fewer options to hold the insurance companies accountable for such inappropriate conduct. If you have been injured and have a claim for damages, it is imperative you consult with an attorney familiar with the changing legal landscape and who is willing and capable to litigate and try cases.
The medical expenses incurred as a result of a crash or other incident that gives rise to a legal claim is often a critical driving factor in determining the full value of a legal claim. Florida’s 2023 tort reform bill changes how medical expense damages will be presented to the jury and, therefore, will change how insurance companies value and pay claims. Previously, juries were typically presented with the amount of medical bills incurred, regardless of who paid those bills and for how much. Defendants were not entitled to benefit from reductions procured by health insurance paid for by the victim.
The new law changes the medical expenses that juries will see at trial, so only the amount paid for medical treatment will be considered when a jury evaluates the total harm. This may result in drastically reduced recoveries. This legal change also necessitates consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, who can navigate the new legal landscape and maximize the likelihood of recovering for the full damages and losses suffered.
Revised Statute of Limitations
One of the notable changes to Florida’s personal injury laws in the 2023 tort reform bill is the revised statute of limitations. The statute of limitations sets a time limit within which an injured party must file a lawsuit. Previously, Florida had a four-year statute of limitations for most personal injury cases. However, under the new law, the statute of limitations has been reduced to two years. It is crucial for plaintiffs to be aware of this shorter time frame to ensure they file their lawsuits within the prescribed period.
Comparative Fault Standard
Another significant change introduced in Florida’s 2023 tort reform bill is the change from pure comparative fault to modified comparative fault. Comparative fault refers to the amount of fault placed on the plaintiff, which reduces the amount of recovery the plaintiff receives by the amount of fault attributed to him or her. Under the pure comparative fault model, the amount of compensation a plaintiff is entitled to receive will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault for their injuries, their compensation will be reduced by 20%. If the plaintiff is found to be 60 percent at fault, the plaintiff will still recover from the other at-fault parties, but those parties will only be responsible for 40 percent of the plaintiff’s damages and losses.
Under the new laws in Florida, a plaintiff is not entitled to recover anything if he or she is found to be more than fifty percent at fault; in other words, a negligent party will not have to compensate for the harm caused by their negligence if they were not at least fifty percent responsible.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
The recent changes to personal injury laws in Florida have ushered in a new legal landscape that demands the expertise and guidance of a seasoned law firm. These are just some examples of the changes made by the recent tort reform bill.
Hersh Kirtman Injury Law is well-prepared to navigate these changes and provide exceptional legal representation to individuals seeking justice and compensation in personal injury cases. With our deep understanding of the revised statutes and our commitment to staying updated on the latest legal developments, we are ready to stand by our client’s side throughout the legal process.
Don’t let the recent changes to personal injury laws discourage you from seeking the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact Hersh Kirtman Injury Law today to schedule a consultation and let our experienced team guide you through the legal process. Remember, we are here to fight for your rights and advocate on your behalf, ensuring that you receive the fair and just resolution you are entitled to. Reach out today by calling (561) 208-3700 or completing our contact form.