Last month, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 837 into law, finalizing significant tort reform in the state of Florida. But what does it mean for you? In this article, we tell you everything you need to know.
On March 24, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis approved House Bill 837, a tort reform bill that impacts businesses, insurance companies, and Treasure Coast residents. The bill significantly limits the ability of Floridians to file civil lawsuits and diminishes legal rights in civil cases. In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about House Bill 837.
What is House Bill 837?
House Bill 837 effectively changes Florida’s negligence-based damage recovery system from one using pure comparative negligence to modified comparative negligence. While proponents of the bill argue this change will help curb rampant lawsuit abuse, the reality is that the bill protects insurance companies and large corporations—not individuals.
What changes does House Bill 837 include?
House Bill 837 introduces changes that dramatically shift how victims of negligent acts, such as car accidents or slip and fall cases, recover damages. Below are the key changes:
- Modified comparative negligence – House Bill 837 transitions Florida from a pure comparative negligence system to a modified comparative negligence system. This means that if you are in a car accident and found to be more than 50% at fault, you cannot recover any money for your damages or medical bills. Previously, you could recover damages based on a percentage, meaning if you were 90% at fault, you could still recover 10% to help pay your bills. This is a huge loss for Florida residents and a big win for insurance companies.
- Shorter statute of limitations – The statute of limitations for filing a civil case based on negligence was cut-in half. You now have only two years to file a claim. This directly impacts people who need more than two years to recover from a serious accident.
- Minimization of bad faith lawsuits – The bill effectively minimizes your ability to file a bad faith lawsuit against an insurance company. Now, if an insurance company is behaving in bad faith, they must receive written notice of their alleged violation and then be provided the opportunity to correct their behavior within 120 days. This is another big win for insurance companies. They now have legal protection to engage in bad practices.
- Medical damage caps – House Bill 837 sets a cap for the dollar amount you can recover for your medical bills after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. And if you don’t have medical insurance, the bill restricts reimbursements at the Medicare rate. This change is profoundly concerning for uninsured Floridians.
- Limits who can be held accountable – The new bill dramatically reduces the amount and instances in which a property owner can be held responsible for injuries incurred on their property. For example, if you’re at a store, and someone knocks over a “loose” shelf that falls on you, the property owner can be cleared of any wrongdoing.
How will House Bill 837 affect your daily life?
House Bill 837 has far-reaching effects that will impact the lives of Treasure Coast residents. The bill essentially protects businesses and insurance companies and takes away some rights of the individual.
The bill removes the incentive for corporations, such as Walmart, to take the necessary steps to keep customers safe. It also limits the protection you get from your insurance company. Now, your insurance company may not have to pay for all of your medical bills or damages. And, insurance companies now have more leeway to get away with bad practices, such as lowball offers or delayed settlements.
Injured in an accident? Know your rights.
Call 866-930-6435 now
House Bill 837 introduces major changes to how you can recover damages after an accident. However, at Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we are not letting these changes impact how we help and fight for our clients. If you are injured in a car accident in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach or Okeechobee, call us right away. Our experienced injury attorneys are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.
We are here to help you. We have offices in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Okeechobee. Plus, we offer free case reviews and do not charge you anything unless we win your case.
Call 866-930-6435 to speak to our experienced injury attorneys now.