On February 15, 2023, a bill was passed by the Florida House of Representatives and the Senate, which was soon after approved and signed by Governor Ron DeSantis. More specifically, this bill significantly changes the landscape of civil litigation in the state of Florida. Follow along to find out what you should know about this tort reform and how one of the proficient Panama City personal injury attorneys at Manuel & Thompson, PA can help you understand it.
What is there to know about Florida’s tort reform?
One of the biggest takeaways from Florida’s tort reform is that they changed from a pure comparative negligence system to a modified comparative negligence system.
Under the previous system, you were allowed to recover damages via a personal injury claim even if you were partially at fault for your accident. For example, if you were found to be 20 percent at fault for your accident, then you were still eligible to receive financial compensation for 80 percent of your damages.
However, with this new system, you are no longer allowed to recover damages from another party if you were found to be responsible for a majority of your accident. For example, if you were found to be 50 percent or more at fault, then you are prohibited from filing a personal injury claim.
Importantly, this tort reform does not apply to medical negligence claims.
What else should I know about this reform?
In addition, Florida’s tort reform has changed the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Previously, the statute of limitations was set at four years. Meaning, you had generally four years from the date of your personal injury accident to bring your claim forward. However, with this reform, the statute of limitations is now at two years. Meaning, you now only have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. If you miss this deadline, then you will be permanently barred from recovering your damages and overall from attaining justice.
Also worth mentioning are the changes in attorney fees. That is, this reform states that a contingency fee multiplier for an attorney fee award is appropriate only in rare and exceptional circumstances. It also creates a strong presumption that a lodestar fee is sufficient and reasonable in any action in which attorney fees are determined or awarded by the court. And with this, a presumption can be overcome only in rare and exceptional circumstances.
For more information on what other changes have been made, consult with one of the talented Panama City personal injury attorneys today. We are well-versed in these updates, and we are more than happy to relay this information to you. Pick up the phone and give our firm a call today.