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Understanding Florida’s New Tort Reform

Understanding Florida’s New Tort Reform
On March 24, 2023, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a new law, HB 837 / SB 238, which brought some big changes to how legal cases are handled in Florida. These changes started right away and affect any lawsuits filed after March 24, 2023. Here’s a simpler breakdown of what these changes mean:

• Shorter Time to Sue for Accidents

Before this law, if someone was hurt due to someone else’s negligence (like in a car accident, slip and fall or negligent security), they had four years to sue. Now, they only have two years to do so. However, if you’re in the military and on active duty, you might get some extra time.

• Tougher to Sue Property Owners for Crimes on Their Property

If someone is hurt on a property (like a shopping mall) because of a crime, it’s now harder to sue the property owner. The law says that juries must look at everyone involved in causing the injury, including if someone was injured by the criminal act of a third party. Also, apartment buildings and similar places can avoid being sued for crimes like theft or assault if they have certain security measures, like good lighting, security cameras, and strong locks.

• Limits on Medical Bill Claims in Court

If you’re suing because you got hurt and have medical bills, the law now restricts how much you can claim. Jurors may now consider what is “reasonable” for unsatisfied, unpaid medical bills, including what the claimant’s health insurer would have paid if the claimant has health insurance. It also requires disclosures for any claimant using letters of protection.

• If You’re Partly at Fault, You Might Get Nothing:

Before, if you were partly to blame for what happened to you, you could still get some money. Now, if you’re more than 50% at fault, you won’t get any compensation.
These changes are expected to have a big impact on legal cases in Florida, especially those involving personal injuries, property crimes, and insurance disputes. Should you have any questions about how Florida’s tort reform affects you or your business, please contact your Rush & Frisco Law attorney or the local office.
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