H.B. 837 took effect immediately after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it. However, some parts of the legislation apply to causes of action filed on or after March 24, while others apply to causes of action accruing on or after March 24. If you are unsure whether H.B. 837 affects your Florida personal injury case, you can consult with an attorney from our firm who can determine what changes apply and help you take your next steps.
Does H.B. 837 Change Impact How Much I Can Seek for Damages?
House Bill (H.B.) 837 in Florida changed some tort laws governing the state’s personal injury legal system. The legislation, signed into law on March 24, 2023, gives lawsuit reform protections to corporations, businesses, property owners, and others.
Before House Bill 837 became law, Florida operated under a pure comparative negligence system. This means a plaintiff suing for damages could recover their losses in proportion to the defendant’s percentage of liability, even if the plaintiff contributed to their damages. For example, if the plaintiff was 70% liable for their damages, they could recover the remaining 30% from the opposing side. Now, that is no longer the case.
H.B. 837 moves Florida from a pure comparative negligence system to a modified comparative negligence system. Under this new system, the plaintiff, who is 70% responsible for their losses, would recover nothing from the opposing side because they are more than 50% at fault for their damages. This change does not affect medical negligence cases.
This is important to personal injury clients because insurers often try to blame the victim for their injuries and losses. Under this new system, this threshold is lower, increasing your risk of losing crucial compensation. Our lawyers’ jobs are to fight back against these claims and get you the most compensation possible. We anticipate these kinds of tactics, and it’s crucial now more than ever to gather and interpret evidence that supports your case.
To consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer today, call 855-780-9986
Does H.B. 837 Shorten Florida’s Statute of Limitations?
Yes– a person suing for negligence in Florida used to have four years to pursue their injury case under the prior Florida Statutes § 95.11. H.B. 837 cuts that timeline in half – plaintiffs now have only two years to make their case. Some say the change could encourage plaintiffs to file their lawsuits sooner and prompt their attorneys to evaluate their legal actions sooner.
Cases filed after March 24, 2023, now have this shortened timeline. This two-year timeframe will go by quickly, so you must act as soon as you can. If you do not file your lawsuit during this statute of limitations, you may be unable to seek damages. Please note that the statute of limitations for wrongful death did not change, nor did the deadline for medical malpractice. Nevertheless, it’s best to call a lawyer after your accident or injury as soon as possible.
Does the Bill Change Anything About Attorney’s Fees?
H.B. 837 repeals Florida Statutes § 629.9373 and § 627.428, limiting how one-way attorney’s fees are awarded in insurance cases. Before H.B. 837, only insureds (persons or entities that insurers or insurance policies protect) and third parties could recover attorney’s fees if they won their cases against insurers. They also could recover any amount.
The law says that one-way attorney’s fees only apply in certain declaratory judgment actions, and these fees should be “reasonable” and limited to those incurred in the action. This means insureds must bear the burden of attorney’s fees regardless of the outcomes of their cases.
This can impact your settlement amount, but we will fight for fair compensation so you get what you need to recover from your injuries.
Does H.B. 837 Amend Standards for Other Lawsuits?
House Bill 837 also changes Florida laws governing bad faith lawsuits. Under the new law, negligence alone cannot constitute insurance bad faith. Also, parties must now send insurance companies a written notice that details the alleged bad faith violations. They also must give insurers an opportunity to correct the alleged bad faith actions within 90 days of receiving written notice.
The notice must include the statutory provision, including the specific language of the statute that the insurer is said to have violated. The notice must also contain the facts and circumstances of the alleged violation. The new law also extends the statute of limitations deadline that applies if the insurer does not resolve the matter in 90 days. This gives the plaintiff more time to bring a claim if they do not receive the payment due.
Some observers say these new requirements will make bringing forth a bad faith lawsuit more challenging for plaintiffs. Bad faith lawsuits are already a lot to handle for the average person, and adding more steps can make it more confusing. Our lawyers can help you navigate this claim and get the compensation you need and deserve.
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Does H.B. 837 Change What Evidence I Can Present in a Lawsuit?
H.B. 837 aims to prohibit inflated damages and awards of damages. It modifies the evidence plaintiffs can present at trial to prove their past and future medical damages. Admissible evidence is limited to the amount of money that was actually paid for medical treatment, regardless of the payment source.
So, if an insurer has paid the bill for a medical service the plaintiff received, only the amount the insurer paid can be presented at trial, not the initial amount billed. When it comes to future medical bills, a plaintiff can submit only the charges that would satisfy the amount for it to be considered paid.
Insurers may use this to lowball your settlement offer, which can hurt your finances. Our team will evaluate all your losses and fight for a number that satisfies your needs.
Call Bogin, Munns & Munns Today to Learn If H.B. 837 Affects Your Florida Injury Case
The areas we highlight above are only a few ways H.B. 837 changes Florida’s litigation landscape. The reforms have been met with mixed responses. Supporters say changes under the new law will lower insurance and medical costs in addition to litigation costs, while opponents say the new laws will limit the rights and recoveries of Florida’s injured.
Call Bogin, Munns & Munns today for guidance on how H.B. 837 in Florida affects your case. Our team of more than 40 attorneys is current on all Florida laws and can advise you on your legal matter. We are available 24/7 and can assist you in Spanish and English.