Florida Enacts Major Tort Reform and Bad Faith Claim Legislation
On Friday, March 24, 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 837: Civil Remedies, bringing sweeping tort reform in the state of Florida. The law introduces significant changes to how lawsuits are litigated in Florida. Click here to read the Governer's statement. This law, which is effective immediately, makes the following changes:
- Comparative fault now prevents a plaintiff from recovering damages if plaintiff is greater than 50% responsible.
- The Statute of limitations for negligence actions has been reduced from 4 to 2 years.
- A plaintiff can now only present evidence of paid medical expenses or an equivalent reduced amount, not an inflated billed amount.
- Makes it more difficult to pursue bad faith actions relating to alleged failure to settle within limits.
- Plaintiff must disclose cases the Plaintiff’s law firm has referred to the treating physician.
- Attorney’s fees only recoverable by insured if a carrier denies coverage and the amount of attorneys’ fees recoverable may not exceed reasonable hourly rates.
- Property owners get a presumption they were not negligent for crimes committed on their property if the property owner took specified security measures.
What Clients Should Do:
Due to the new legislation’s passage, plaintiff’s firms tried to file thousands of claims lawsuits and time-limit demands. This was done just before the law was enacted, to avoid the impact of this new law. It is important that GB clients:
- Promptly notify GB of any policy limit demand and any summons and complaint;
- Coordinate with GB on engagement of defense counsel;
- Coordinate with GB on expedited information-gathering so we can address time limit demands; and
- Coordinate with GB on confirmation of excess coverage and reporting to primary carriers.
Changes to the statute of limitations will impact claims that accrue and insurance policies going into effect after March 24, 2023. If the new law does not specify when it takes effect for a specific issue, then it will apply to all lawsuits filed after the effective date.
If you have questions, please contact your GB Client Services Manager.