DeSantis Tort Reform Package Makes it More Difficult to Sue
Recently, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed a measure into law that will make it more difficult for Floridians to file personal injury lawsuits against just about anybody. The law rolled back regulations that were in place for decades and restricted certain types of lawsuits from being filed at all. In this article, the Tampa, FL personal injury lawyers at The Matassini Law Firm will discuss the new measures, how they work, and what happens now.
Pure comparative negligence is gone
Florida once operated on a system of pure comparative negligence that is similar to California’s system. In a pure comparative negligence state, an injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit even if they are 90% responsible for their own injuries. They would, under a system of pure comparative negligence, be able to recover 10% of their overall damages in a claim against a negligent party. So, if a jury awarded them $100,000, they would be able to recover 10% of that total or $10,000.
Florida has since done away with this system and now operates on a system of contributory negligence. Under the new rules, an individual must not be more than 50% responsible for their own injuries to file a claim against a negligent party. If they are, their claim is barred.
The statute of limitations just got lower
Under the previous system, an injured party had 4 years from the date of their injury to file a lawsuit against a negligent party. The new rule changed the statute of limitations to 2 years. Now, you only have 2 years from the date of your injury to file a claim against a negligent party.
Changes to bad faith insurance claims
In addition to the aforementioned changes, the bill introduced modifications to Florida’s bad faith system. The bad faith framework holds insurance companies accountable for acting unfairly toward their policyholders. The revised legislation would allow insurers to avoid third-party bad faith allegations if they were to pay out the policy limits or the amount demanded by the claimant within 120 days of receiving the claim.
Who benefits from these changes?
Insurance companies and businesses that face personal injury lawsuits benefit from the revised legislation. The new rules make it more difficult to sue both businesses and insurance companies. Under the old system of torts, litigants had more time to bring a lawsuit against a negligent party. They could still recover damages if they were more than 50% at fault for their own injuries. They had more leverage to hold insurance companies accountable for bad faith claims.
That being said, many states operate on a system that is similar to the one now employed in the State of Florida. Colorado, for instance, operates on a similar system of contributory negligence. These reforms are broadly employed across the U.S. and will weed out some weaker claims.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The Tampa, FL personal injury lawyers at The Matassini Law Firm represent the interests of plaintiffs in lawsuits filed against negligent parties. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your road to recovery right away.