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How Tort Reform in Florida Impacts Your Personal Injury Case

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How Tort Reform in Florida Impacts Your Personal Injury Case

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How Tort Reform in Florida Impacts Your Personal Injury Case

Brubaker Injury Law

October 28, 2023

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, you should be aware that Florida has recently enacted some major changes to its tort laws that may affect your ability to recover the full and fair amount you deserve. In this blog post, we will explain what tort reform is, what changes have been made in Florida, and how they may impact your personal injury case.

What Is Tort Reform?

Tort reform is a term that refers to the efforts to limit or reduce the liability of defendants in civil lawsuits, especially those involving personal injury claims. Tort reform advocates argue that the current system is unfair, inefficient, and costly and that it encourages frivolous lawsuits, excessive damages, and high insurance premiums. They propose various measures to reform the tort system, such as:

  • Shortening the statute of limitations, which is the time limit for filing a lawsuit
  • Imposing caps or limits on the amount of damages that can be awarded
  • Changing the rules of comparative negligence, which determine how fault is allocated among the parties
  • Restricting the use of contingency fees, which are the percentage of the recovery that lawyers charge as their fee
  • Modifying the standards of evidence, proof, and causation in certain types of cases

Tort reform opponents argue that the current system is fair, effective, and necessary and that it protects the rights and interests of injured victims, consumers, and the public. They contend that tort reform measures are unjust, harmful, and unconstitutional, and that they:

  • Deprive victims of their access to justice and their right to a jury trial
  • Reduce the accountability and responsibility of negligent or wrongful actors
  • Undermine the quality and safety of products, services, and environments
  • Benefit the interests of powerful corporations, insurers, and lobbyists

What Changes Have Been Made in Florida?

Florida has been one of the most active states in pursuing tort reform in recent years. In March 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 837 into law, which introduced several significant changes to Florida’s tort system. Some of the key changes are:

  • The statute of limitations for general negligence actions, such as car accidents, slip and falls, and product liability, has been reduced from four years to two years. This means that you have less time to file your lawsuit after the date of your injury.
  • The rule of pure comparative negligence, which allowed you to recover damages even if you were partially at fault for your injury, has been replaced by a rule of modified comparative negligence, which bars you from recovering any damages if you were more than 50% at fault. This means that you have to prove that the other party was more responsible for your injury than you were.
  • The calculation of past and future medical expenses in personal injury and wrongful death cases has been modified to require the consideration of evidence of the actual amounts paid or payable by or on behalf of the claimant rather than the amounts billed by the providers. This means that you may not be able to recover the full amount of your medical bills, especially if they were covered by insurance or discounted by the providers.
  • The use of letters of protection, which are agreements between lawyers and medical providers to defer payment for treatment until the resolution of the case, has been restricted to require certain disclosures and limitations. This means that you may have fewer options to obtain medical treatment without upfront payment.
  • The award of contingency fee multipliers, which are factors that increase the amount of attorney fees based on the risk or difficulty of the case, has been limited to exceptional circumstances and subject to specific criteria. This means that your lawyer may not be able to recover the full value of their services, especially if they took on a challenging or complex case.

How Do They Impact Your Personal Injury Case?

The changes brought by tort reform in Florida may have a significant impact on your personal injury case, depending on the facts and circumstances of your situation. Some of the possible impacts are:

  • You may have less time to investigate, prepare, and file your lawsuit, which may affect the quality and strength of your case.
  • You may have less leverage to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company or the defendant, who may use the new rules to reduce or deny your claim.
  • You may have less chance to win your case at trial or to obtain the full amount of damages that you deserve if the jury or the judge applies the new rules to your case.
  • You may have less incentive to hire a lawyer or to find a lawyer who is willing and able to represent you if the new rules limit the amount of attorney fees that can be recovered.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Rights and Interests?

Despite the challenges and obstacles that tort reform in Florida may pose to your personal injury case, you still have the right and the opportunity to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, you need to act quickly and wisely to protect your rights and interests. Here are some steps that you can take to improve your chances of success:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible after your injury, and follow the instructions and recommendations of your doctor. This will help you document and treat your injuries and prevent them from worsening.
  • Report the accident to the appropriate authorities, such as the police, your employer, or the property owner, and obtain a copy of the report. This will help you establish the facts and details of the accident, and identify the potential parties and witnesses involved.
  • Preserve and collect any evidence that may support your claim, such as photos, videos, receipts, medical records, witness statements, and contact information. This will help you prove the cause and extent of your injuries, and the liability and damages of the other party.
  • Contact a reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, and discuss your case with them. This will help you understand your legal rights and options, and get the best advice and representation for your case.
  • Do not talk to the insurance company or the defendant, or sign any documents or accept any offers, without consulting your lawyer first. This will help you avoid making any mistakes or statements that may harm your case, and ensure that you get the maximum compensation that you deserve.

Contact Brubaker Injury Law Today

If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you need a lawyer who knows the law, who cares about your case, and who will fight for your rights. You need Brubaker Injury Law.

At Brubaker Injury Law, we have the knowledge, the skills, and the resources to handle all types of personal injury cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and more. We serve clients in South Florida and the surrounding areas, and we have a proven track record of success.

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case. We also offer free consultations, where we will evaluate your case and answer your questions. We will guide you through the legal process and keep you informed every step of the way.

At Brubaker Injury Law, we care about our clients and their families. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial impact of a personal injury. That’s why we are committed to providing compassionate and personalized service to each and every client. We will treat you with respect and dignity, and we will work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Don’t let the tort reform in Florida stop you from seeking justice and compensation for your injuries. Contact Brubaker Injury Law today and let us help you get the justice you need. Call us at (561) 714-8116 or visit our website at www.brubakerinjurylaw.com to schedule your free consultation. Brubaker Injury Law: We are here for you.

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