With the passage of HB 837, Florida will see massive changes to its personal injury system in the upcoming years. Effective immediately, the legislation shortens the statute of limitations, redefines bad faith insurance practices, and alters Florida’s fault laws.
Navigating the financial recovery process as an injured claimant can get complicated enough. Yet, with these laws, you could struggle to recover the compensation you need. That’s where you could benefit from partnering with a personal injury lawyer. They can explain how Florida’s laws are changing in 2023 and how they affect your case.
How HB 837 Has Changed Florida’s Laws in 2023
HB 837 is a multi-faceted bill that affects many aspects of the claims process. Here are some of those changes below:
Florida Now Has a Two-Year Statute of Limitations
Prior to 2023, if you were injured due to negligence, you would have four years to file your lawsuit under Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a). Yet, HB 837 has cut that filing period in half. Now, you only have two years to file your case. The two-year deadline applies to both personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits.
With this change, it’s a good idea to consider your legal options promptly. Two years can fly by after suffering a serious injury. The sooner you consider your legal options, the sooner a lawyer can start building your case and advocating for what you need. If you don’t file your lawsuit within this two-year window, you could lose the right to seek damages.
Florida Views Fault Differently
Contrary to popular belief, Florida still operates on a no-fault system. For instance, if you get hurt in a car accident, you would first file a claim with your insurer before filing a third-party claim elsewhere. However, you must meet certain criteria to file a third-party claim. What’s more, fault can affect how much compensation you could recover.
Consider this scenario to understand more:
- You get into a collision with another driver.
- You file a claim with your own insurer, but your losses exceed the policy’s limits. This prompts you to file a claim with the other party’s insurer.
- An investigation shows that you were 30 percent at fault for what happened, and your damages cost $100,000.
- In that instance, you could only recover 70 percent of your losses since you were partially responsible for what happened.
What does this mean for you? Establishing fault is critical in Florida accident claims. If the other party can successfully allege that you caused even a fraction of the accident, this could impede how much you can recover.
Insurance Companies Have More Immunity Against Bad Faith Claims
Before, if an insurance company acted in bad faith, you could file a lawsuit for breach of contract. While you can still do that, the bar for suing an insurance company is much higher.
If you’re concerned about the insurance company taking advantage of you after getting hurt, you could benefit from hiring an injury lawyer. They can hold the insurance company to its word and advocate for what you need.
Property Owners Aren’t Automatically Liable for Negligent Security Incidents
Imagine this scenario. While exiting your car in a dimly lit parking lot, you get assaulted and suffer serious injuries. In that instance, before HB 837, you could assert that because the property owner didn’t maintain safe premises, you were attacked and suffered damages.
HB 837 slightly changes this. Instead of solely pursuing the property owner, the state asks that the courts consider the perpetrator’s liability. This can reduce how much responsibility property owners have for incidents that happen due to negligent security practices, complicating issues of liability further.
Your Lawyer Must Disclose They Referred You to a Doctor
Many personal injury lawyers partner with medical doctors to whom they refer patients. These pre-existing relationships can make arranging treatment and getting medical evidence easier. What’s more, if your case goes to court, your doctor could testify on your behalf, validating the severity of your condition.
Before, your lawyer would not disclose that they referred you to that doctor during discovery. Now, that’s changed; your lawyer must share that they referred you to a doctor and that they’re testifying on your behalf. For some attorneys, this isn’t a problem. For others, they believe this instills bias that could make the doctor’s testimony less credible.
To consult with an experienced litigation / legal dispute lawyer today, call 855-780-9986
What Do Florida’s New Personal Injury Laws Mean for You?
If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, HB 837 will play a critical role in your claim or lawsuit. With the passage of this bill:
- You should consider your legal options immediately. You don’t have the generous four-year lawsuit filing deadline anymore. The new two-year deadline shortens how long you have to file a lawsuit, prepare a case, and gather evidence.
- Fault matters. Disputes over fault can quickly complicate an injury case. This makes gathering and analyzing compelling evidence more important than ever.
- Insurance companies have more power. Now that insurers have further protection against bad faith claims, this could compel them to drag out the claims process or otherwise treat claimants unfairly. Without legal help, you could battle an insurance company for months and make no headway.
- Property owners can deflect liability. Property owners may deny liability when people suffer injuries on their premises due to negligent security. Also, you would need to know how to hold the preparators financially responsible for your losses.
You Could Benefit From Partnering With a Personal Injury Lawyer
You don’t have to learn the law to understand Florida’s evolving personal injury landscape. Instead, you can partner with a lawyer who understands these changes and how they apply to you. Bogin, Munns & Munns has served clients for more than 40 years, and we’ve seen our fair share of new laws and changes.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident, call us. When you partner with an attorney from our team, you can breathe easy knowing that you have an advocate in your corner.