Personal injury is a broad field, and there are specific laws and regulations for certain areas, such as motor vehicle accidents. However, these are the laws that generally apply to civil cases.
In March 2023, the Florida Legislature passed a comprehensive tort reform bill, known as HB 837. This bill made significant changes to Florida’s personal injury laws. Some aspects of the bill took effect immediately, and some only apply to incidents that occurred after March 24, 2023. Where appropriate, the old and new regulations will be discussed.
Jacksonville statute of limitations
Currently, Florida has different statutes of limitations depending on when the accident occurred.
For accidents or incidents that occurred before or on March 24, 2023, the limitation period is four years, except for medical malpractice (two years from the time of discovery), Manslaughter (two years) or claims against the government (three years, with specific filing requirements).
For accidents or incidents that occurred after March 24, 2023, the statute of limitations is reduced from four years to two years.
Fixing the fault in Jacksonville
Another change made by HB 837 is how the fault is determined in Florida. Many accidents are not 100% one party’s fault. Sometimes the other party is somewhat responsible. Imagine a situation where someone slips on a wet floor in a supermarket while texting. The court may decide that the supermarket is 80% responsible because of the wet floor, and the injured person is 20% responsible because he was not paying attention to his surroundings. Since the injured person bears some liability, the maximum they can collect is 80% of the damages.
Florida now uses the modified comparative neglect rule. This means that you can only collect damages if you are 50% or less responsible for the accident. No party determined to be 51% or more liable can recover damages.
Florida dog bite liability
Dog bites in Florida It is handled a little differently from other personal injury cases. Dog owners are responsible for any injury caused by their dog on public property or to anyone lawfully on the dog’s owner’s property, even if the dog has never bitten or shown aggression before. This is referred to as strict liability.
Florida limits on personal injury recovery
There is currently no limit to the amount of compensatory damages (or money paid for Medicare) that can be recovered in Florida, although HB 837 tightens the requirements for proof of medical expenses.
Punitive damages (or money paid as a penalty) are limited to three times the compensatory damage or $500,000.
How can a lawyer help you?
Passing HB 837 makes having a lawyer at your side even more important. The new law is designed in a way that benefits insurance companies, which may mean that it harms the individuals who have been injured.
A qualified attorney can help you navigate the new landscape of personal injury laws in Florida.