On March 24, 2023, Florida HB (for House Bill) 837 went into effect. This Florida tort reform bill includes multiple provisions — of particular importance, a change to the statute of limitations for individuals seeking to file a negligence claim.
The new bill shortens the statute of limitations for filing negligence claims from four years to two. That means you only have two years from the time of an incident to file a claim.
Statute 837 has left some Florida residents who have negligence claims feeling overwhelmed. If you’re concerned you might miss your window of opportunity to receive the compensation you deserve, read on. You can avoid this by contacting a personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale right away.
Keep in mind that no injury is too small for a court to consider, and attorney’s fees often are less than you might expect.
Do You Need to Rush to File Your Negligence Claim?
It’s never a good idea to rush into legal action. A better way to think about it is that you may now need to expedite your claim. That means you need to move purposefully to get your claim underway. A crucial first step is understanding how the recent changes to Florida’s negligence liability system may affect your case.
New Changes to Damage Recovery
In addition to shortening the statute of limitations in negligence cases, Statute 837 affects a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages. In negligence cases, courts often find the responsibility to be split between the parties. For example, you might be 55% responsible and the other party 45% responsible.
As a plaintiff, you can now receive compensation in proportion to the defendant’s liability only if the court finds you to be less than 50% responsible. A personal injury lawyer at Ginnis & Krathen can help you understand this change in the context of your case. If your scenario meets that requirement, we will assist you in moving forward with your claim.
New Changes to Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Statute 837 includes changes related to so-called “bad faith” insurance claims. That’s when an insurance company doesn’t attempt in good faith to settle claims when it should have. In other words, they refuse to pay without a reasonable basis or don’t review the claim in a reasonable timeframe.
One change is that negligence alone doesn’t constitute an insurance bad faith claim. The statute also protects insurers from bad-faith liability if they pay the lesser of the policy limits or the amount claimed within 90 days. The “clock” starts when the insurer has received the claim and evidence to support the amount demanded.
New LOP Disclosure Requirements
An LOP is a “Letter of Protection.” It’s a guarantee from the issuing law firm that a healthcare provider will be paid for services provided to an injured party. That payment will come from the future verdict or settlement of the claim.
Statute 837 requires new disclosures related to LOPs, including:
- A copy of the LOP
- Bills for medical expenses coded in a way that allows comparison to other providers or facilities
- The name of any third party with the right to payment for services rendered and the amount paid to purchase that right
- Any healthcare coverage the plaintiff had at the time treatment was provided
- Anyone who referred the plaintiff for treatment under an LOP
The statute also voids attorney-client privilege related to the lawyer referring the client for treatment.
Take Action Today To Protect Your Negligence Claim
Statute 837 is now in effect and contains significant changes related to negligence claims. You should talk with a Fort Lauderdale attorney at Ginnis & Krathen promptly if you intend to file a claim. Delaying could cause you to exceed the new two-year statute of limitations and lose the right to compensation.
Our team can review your claim and help you understand it in light of the new legislation. Then, we can guide you every step of the way as you seek fair compensation.
Contact Ginnis & Krathen today to get started.