How Will Florida HB-837 Affect My Car Accident Case?
Florida recently passed the Tort Reform Act of 2023, also known as HB-837. The bill enacts changes that can affect all types of personal injury claims, including those resulting from car accidents.
Lakeland car accidents frequently cause debilitating physical, emotional, and financial losses. Accident victims have a right to hold liable parties accountable for their losses, but HB-837 may impact who is eligible for damages and how much compensation is awarded. Car accident attorneys at Moody Law, P.A., help individuals from Lakeland, FL, Winter Haven, FL, Tampa, FL, and surrounding areas understand how Florida HB-837 may affect a car accident case and when to hire an attorney to assist in the pursuit of compensation.
What Is the Goal of HB-837?
The goal of HB-837 is to change the state’s tort laws. Tort laws address wrongdoings and provide relief to victims of wrongful acts, most often in the form of financial compensation. HB-837 specifically addresses concerns regarding excessive damages being rewarded in certain personal injury cases, leading to increased insurance costs. Unfortunately, the act includes changes that can affect car accident claims.
Changes to Statute of Limitations
One of the most significant aspects of HB-837 is a change in the state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Previously, personal injury victims had four years from the date of an injury or accident to file a personal injury claim. After March 2023, HB-837 cut the statute of limitations in half. Personal injury and car accident victims now have just two years from the date of an accident or injury to file a civil claim.
Changes to Comparative Negligence
Another area of HB-837 that directly affects car accident victims is changes to the state’s comparative negligence stance.
Previously, Florida adhered to the concept of pure comparative negligence. Under this concept, injury victims could pursue financial compensation for injury damages even if they were found partially at fault for an accident. The amount of damages awarded would simply be proportionate to their degree of liability. For instance, someone who suffered $100,000 in damages and was 55 percent at fault for an accident could pursue $45,000 in damages ($100,000 - 55%, or $55,000).
The passing of HB-837 adopts the concept of modified comparative negligence. Under the concept of modified comparative negligence, if a person is found to be 51 percent or more at fault for an accident, they are unable to recover any damages.
Changes to Calculation of Medical Damages
HB-837 may significantly impact the amount of damages awarded to injury victims, specifically regarding medical expenses. The act limits awards of medical damages to what is actually paid for and places substantial limitations on Letters of Protection, which are agreements with doctors to pay medical bills contingent on lawsuit recovery.
When to Hire an Attorney
We highly recommend that car accident victims hire an attorney to explore their rights regarding financial compensation for injury damages. Given the changes enacted by HB-837, working with a knowledgeable attorney is vital to understanding the most recent personal injury laws and promoting the best possible outcome for a car accident claim.
Contact Moody Law, P.A.
Attorneys at Moody Law, P.A., work with car accident victims to hold liable parties accountable and maximize collected damages in a personal injury claim. To discuss the details of your case with our team, send a message to our law firm and request a legal consultation.