In March 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a new act to protect Florida families from the rising insurance costs caused by frivolous lawsuits. Half a year later, we’re seeing the Florida Tort Reform Act of 2023 having far-reaching impacts on personal injury cases throughout the state.
The Act is restricting the types of cases that can be brought to law, as well as reducing the amount of compensation paid in many cases. While it does not eliminate the possibility of pursuing a successful personal injury claim, it makes prompt and competent legal counsel more important.
If you or a family member have suffered a personal injury from another’s negligence, don’t risk your rights to compensation. Consult a personal injury attorney at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein. We have helped many personal injury victims secure just compensation following Florida’s tort reform. With over $1 billion in settlements and trial verdicts, we can ensure your rights to compensation are fully realized.
Let’s examine the new legal environment and see how it impacts personal injury victims in Florida.
1. Shorter Time to File Your Claim
The new law significantly shortens the time you have to file a lawsuit after an injury. Before, you had four years, but now you only have two. This means if you’ve been hurt, it’s crucial to start the legal process quickly. Delaying could mean losing your right to sue and get compensation. The reduced timeline places a greater emphasis on immediate action post-injury. For example, in cases such as car accidents or workplace injuries, collecting evidence and obtaining medical records must be carried out promptly. Quick legal consultation also becomes vital to ensure that all necessary documentation is gathered before the deadline. Moreover, this change impacts the strategic planning of a case, necessitating earlier engagement with expert witnesses and faster assessment of the long-term impacts of the injury, which are critical in shaping the legal strategy and securing fair compensation.
2. Changes in Fault Rules
If you’re partly at fault for the accident that injured you, the new rules are stricter. Previously, you could still get some compensation even if you were partly responsible. But under the new law, if you’re more than 50% at fault, you can’t get any compensation. This doesn’t apply to medical mistakes, though. The stricter comparative fault rules significantly impact cases involving shared responsibility, like multi-vehicle accidents. Under the new law, a greater burden is placed on the plaintiff to prove lesser fault to secure compensation.
3. Rules for Injuries on Someone Else’s Property
The law now looks differently at cases where you’re injured on someone else’s property, like in negligent security situations. It focuses more on the person who directly caused the harm, which could mean less liability for property owners. This change may affect how much compensation you can get if you’re injured in such situations. This change particularly affects cases like slip and fall incidents in commercial properties. Property owners might have lesser liability, emphasizing the importance of establishing clear evidence of negligence by the third party.
4. Dealing with Insurance Companies
The reform makes insurance negotiations more complex, particularly in determining liability and coverage. Insurance companies may now use the revised legal standards to challenge claims more aggressively, especially in cases involving long-term injuries where early settlement offers might be less favorable. Victims need to be more vigilant about insurance tactics post-reform. Also, if mistakes are made in the early stages of your claim, these could reduce the amount you can recover. These factors make choosing an experienced personal injury attorney more important.
5. How Medical Bills Are Handled
The new law changes how your medical bills are considered in a lawsuit. There are more limits on agreements to pay medical bills only if you win your case, and it’s more about what was paid rather than what was billed. These changes might affect your ability to get treatment if you can’t pay right away. The reform can have a substantial impact on the outcomes of cases with substantial medical costs, such as traumatic brain injuries. Victims might face challenges in getting comprehensive medical care upfront due to the changed dynamics of ‘Letters of Protection’ and billing practices.
Adapting to Florida’s Tort Reform
Six months after the enactment of the Florida Tort Reform Act of 2023, it’s too early to tell how effective the act will be in its intended purpose of reducing insurance costs. It may take many years for this to become evident. But at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, we already see significant shifts in the handling of personal injury cases. These changes necessitate a more immediate and informed response from legal practitioners.
Our Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You
By consulting a personal injury attorney at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, you safeguard your rights to compensation. We have helped many personal injury victims secure just compensation following the Florida Tort Reform Act of 2023 and, with over $1 billion in settlements and trial verdicts, our case results speak for themselves. Call us today at 305-371-2692 or schedule a free consultation online. From our office in Miami, we serve clients throughout Florida.