HB 837 will affect your Florida Personal Injury Claim, here’s how.

by Jun 8, 2023HB 837, Laws, Personal Injury

HB 837 will affect your Florida Personal Injury Claim, here’s how.

by Jun 8, 2023HB 837, Laws, Personal Injury

HB 837 will affect your Florida Personal Injury Claim
HB 837 will affect your Florida Personal Injury Claim

Florida has recently seen significant changes in its personal injury landscape with the introduction of House Bill 837 (HB 837). This bill introduces several amendments to the state’s existing personal injury laws, impacting how claims are pursued and compensation is awarded.

As these changes can have severe implications for personal injury claims in Florida, anyone involved in an accident or injury must understand the critical aspects of HB 837.

This article will discuss the passing of the bill’s essential components on 03/24/2023 and how it affects personal injury claims in the Sunshine State. Stay informed and be prepared by learning about the potential impact of HB 837 on personal injury cases in Florida.

Some Key Changes Introduced by HB 837

Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Claims

Previous Statute of Limitations in Florida

Under previous Florida law, personal injury victims had a time limit of four years from the date of the injury to file their claims. This statute of limitations allows victims sufficient time to assess their damages, gather evidence, and seek legal counsel to guide them through the complex claims process.

Some of the Key Changes Under HB 837

One significant change by HB 837 is the reduction of the statute of limitations for personal injury claims from four years to two years. This change pressures victims to gather relevant evidence quickly, pursue medical treatment, and obtain legal guidance to ensure their claim is filed on time.

Changes in Negligence Standards

Florida’s Previous Comparative Negligence Rule

Previously, Florida followed a pure comparative negligence system, which means that an injured individual can recover damages in proportion to their level of fault. For example, if the injured party is found to be 30% at fault, they can still recover 70% of their damages.

Changes Under HB 837

HB 837 replaced the previous comparative negligence system with a modified version. Under this rule, if the injured party is found to be more than 50% at fault, they may be completely barred from recovering any compensation. However, this change does not apply to medical negligence. This change could significantly impact the ability of victims with partial responsibility for their injuries to recover damages.

Punitive Damages Cap

Past Limitations on Punitive Damages in Florida

In Florida, in the past punitive damages were awarded on top of actual damages to punish the defendant for reckless or negligent behavior. Previously, the cap on punitive damages was set at three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater.

Other Changes Under HB 837

The legislation passed on 03/24/23 further limits punitive damages by introducing a two-step process. First, the claimant must prove gross negligence or intentional misconduct by clear and convincing evidence. Second, punitive damages are limited to two times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.

This change restricts victims’ ability to hold defendants accountable for egregious conduct and reduces financial compensation for those who suffer severe injuries due to another’s recklessness.

The Impact of HB 837 on Personal Injury Claims

Challenges in Filing Claims Within a Shorter Timeframe

Reducing the statute of limitations from four to two years imposes significant challenges for claimants. Injured individuals may need help to gather necessary evidence, seek appropriate medical care, and find skilled legal counsel in a limited timeframe, potentially compromising their ability to secure a fair settlement or present a strong case in court.

Reduced Compensation Due to Modified Comparative Negligence Rule

Replacing the previous comparative negligence system with contributory negligence reduces compensation for victims who share any percentage of fault for their injuries. This change will be particularly detrimental for those with life-changing injuries or extensive financial burdens, as they may not receive any compensation if they are found to be even partially responsible for their own harm.

Limitations in Recovering Punitive Damages For Victims

The introduction of a two-step process and a lower cap on punitive damages could result in victims receiving less financial compensation, even in cases where the defendant exhibited gross negligence or intentional misconduct. By imposing stringent evidentiary requirements and a lower cap on damages, HB 837 may make it more challenging for victims to hold defendants accountable for their egregious actions.

Overall Impact on Injured Individuals and Their Families

The combined effects of these HB 837 changes could significantly impact injured individuals and their families in Florida. With the challenges of pursuing claims within a shorter timeframe, potentially receiving reduced compensation under a harsher negligence standard, and limitations on punitive damages available to them, victims may find it more challenging to procure the financial resources needed to recover from their injuries. Consequently, this may add stress and uncertainty as they navigate the legal process, ultimately denying them the justice they deserve.

How to Navigate Some of the Changes Brought by HB 837

Importance of Seeking Legal Advice From Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys

As HB 837 introduces significant changes to Florida’s personal injury laws, seeking legal advice from experienced personal injury attorneys is more crucial than ever. Skilled attorneys will be well-versed in these changes. They can help victims navigate the complexities of the new legislation while advocating for their best interests in order to secure the compensation they deserve.

Tips For Preparing a Strong Case Under the New Legislation

Gathering Evidence on time

With the shortened statute of limitations, injured individuals must gather evidence as quickly as possible following an accident. This includes collecting photos, witness statements, medical records, and any other relevant documentation needed to support their claim. Promptly seeking medical attention and consulting with an attorney can also help ensure that vital evidence is preserved and obtained within the required timeframe.

Establishing Clear Negligence of the Defendant

Under HB 837’s new modified comparative negligence rule, victims need to clearly establish the defendant’s negligence without any fault on their own part. This new standard makes it even more crucial to gather compelling evidence demonstrating the defendant’s responsibility for injuries sustained. An experienced attorney can help identify and present the right type of evidence to establish the defendant’s negligence without any ambiguity.

Working Closely With a Knowledgeable Attorney

As navigating the changes brought by HB 837 can add to the complexity of a personal injury case in Florida, working closely with a knowledgeable attorney who can provide guidance, support, and advocacy throughout the claims process is essential. A skilled personal injury attorney will not only understand the intricacies of the new legislation but will also be able to devise a tailored legal strategy to safeguard your rights and maximize the compensation you deserve.

Concluding Thoughts on HB 837

In conclusion, HB 837 significantly changes Florida’s personal injury laws and we listed only some of those changes. These changes will profoundly impact victims seeking compensation for their injuries. With the added challenges of a shortened statute of limitations, a more stringent negligence standard, and limitations on punitive damages, injured individuals must be proactive in understanding the implications of this legislation and adapt their approach to protecting their rights.

By seeking experienced legal counsel and taking swift action to gather evidence and pursue a claim, victims can navigate the complexities of HB 837 and continue to seek the justice they deserve. Remember that staying informed and relying on trusted legal professionals are the keys to overcoming any obstacles presented by these changes in Florida’s personal injury laws.

Navigating the changes brought by HB 837 can be daunting, but having an experienced attorney by your side can make all the difference in pursuing a successful personal injury claim. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another party, the dedicated team at our law firm is here to provide the guidance and support you need. Contact us online or call (561) 806-5229 today to schedule a consultation and discover how we can help you secure the justice and compensation you are entitled to in your South Florida personal injury case.

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