The Florida Legislature just enacted significant changes to personal injury laws that could drastically impact you if you are injured in Florida. In March of this year, Governor DeSantis signed a new law that significantly affects wrongful death and personal injury cases throughout Florida. The real impact of these laws may take years to realize. We want to share some insight into the new statute and what it might mean for you and your case.
Statute of Limitations
The newly signed law, HB 837, includes several sweeping changes affecting individuals seeking recovery from personal injury lawsuits. One of the most significant changes is in the Statue of Limitations. The statute of limitations is the time between an injury and the ability to bring a lawsuit. Under the new bill, the statute of limitations on negligence cases has been shortened from four years to two. (Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(a) (2023)
Modified Comparative Negligence
Until March, the negligence liability system used in Florida was based on pure comparative negligence. It meant that a plaintiff could recover based on the defendant’s percentage of responsibility for the injuries. This was true regardless of the plaintiff’s liability. So, for example, if it was determined that the defendant was responsible for 50% of the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff could recover 50% of the damages associated with the injury. This was a fair system to be held responsible for their fair share of an injury.
Now, the Florida Government has replaced the pure comparative negligence system with a modified comparative negligence system. This new system allows defendants to escape any responsibility if they can show that a plaintiff is 50.1% at fault. Ultimately, juries will decide the percentage of fault if cases are not resolved before trial.
One new aspect of this new law is the creation of Fla. Stat. 768.0427, which creates a somewhat convoluted framework for how past and future medical damages can be proven at trial. One particularly confusing new aspect of this law is that it allows the parties to introduce the Medicare/Medicaid rates for procedures even when plaintiffs did not use Medicare or Medicaid and are not eligible for those benefits. Shockingly, the legislature also invaded on one of the most sacred protections in our country’s history by attacking and eroding the attorney-client privilege as it relates to discussions between a client and lawyer regarding their medical treatment.
These laws were written by lobbyists and special interests working for big businesses with headquarters out of Florida. While proponents of these laws were fond of saying that these measures were meant to target the “billboard lawyers,” in fact, these laws will do more to target the injured people of Florida and further inflate the profits of the billion-dollar insurance companies. The people lose with these laws, and the billionaires get richer.
At Glassman & Zissimopulos Law, we have been proactive in finding ways to protect our clients from these laws that are designed to hurt common Floridians. If anything, these new efforts to step on the hurt people of Florida have only made us more committed to our mission to Put Clients First.
If you are in need of a personal injury attorney and you call us, you’ll always speak directly to an attorney, and we are committed to helping in any way we can.
Have you been injured due to someone else’s negligence?
Call Glassman and Zissimopulos and our team of dedicated attorneys today. (352) 505-4515 or Toll-Free at (844) 787-2543. When you call, you will be able to speak with a lawyer. This is our commitment to you.