Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session: What Passed and What Failed

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Of the nearly 1,800 bills introduced in the Florida House and Senate during the 2018 legislative session, fewer than 200 survived both houses and were sent to Governor Rick Scott. Several of the bills posed to become law may impact people who are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, whether a workers’ compensation claim or an injury-producing auto accident.

Florida’s New Flood Insurance and Workers’ Compensation Regulations

Although Florida’s first responders—including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs—are often first on the scene to witness tragic, traumatic events, their workers’ compensation policies don’t cover job-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under a new law, first responders who are dealing with mental or emotional injuries caused by their working environment may be eligible for expanded workers’ comp benefits.

Florida’s insurance companies are now required to give big, bold disclaimers to their customers who purchase hurricane insurance beginning in 2018. As many Florida residents learned after Irma, hurricane insurance can cover damage caused by hurricane-force winds but won’t cover the resulting flooding. All hurricane insurance policies now require a statement, in at least 18-point bolded font, that their insurance coverage does not include flood damage and that flood insurance must be purchased separately.

Attempt to Repeal Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws

Florida is one of just a handful of states with a no-fault auto insurance framework. This system, which essentially requires all drivers to carry the risk (and their insurers the cost) of their own repairs in an accident, is designed to make auto insurance prices more standard across-the-board.

However, some drivers point to higher-than-average premiums for Florida drivers and argue that the state law requiring drivers to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is too strict. Although bills to repeal Florida’s no-fault insurance laws were introduced in both the House and the Senate, they drew steep opposition from some lobbying groups and ultimately didn’t have enough traction to succeed.

This doesn’t mean the idea of eliminating no-fault insurance is dead in the water. It’s likely that the next legislative session may bring another push toward an at-fault insurance model or other attempts to reduce auto insurance premiums (or loosen mandated coverages) for Florida residents.

If you or a loved one are facing an insurance claim of your own, or are otherwise dealing with the impact of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to get legal advice before you make any binding decisions. Call Ginnis & Krathen, P.A. at (954) 905-4600 or fill out the free case evaluation form on our website today to learn more about your options.

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