FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (Written by Gil Sanchez, Esq.)
Day #1 of Access Denied to All Floridians! At 11:00 a.m., this morning (March 24th, 2023), Republican Florida Governor DeSantis signed into law CS/CS/HB 837 – Civil Remedies, also known as the “2023 Tort Reform Law”. The law is effective immediately with absolutely NO grace period. The Republican talking points behind the “need” for tort reform is to lower insurance premiums, deter “frivolous” lawsuits and provide transparency in the court process. They believe that the ultimate effect is to keep costs low, which in turn all Floridians will benefit. This is further from the truth. We must understand that the direct beneficiaries of tort reform are large corporations and the politicians who voted for this reform since they receive campaign monies from the same large corporations. Large Corporations such as insurance companies DO NOT want to pay on claims that they are legally contracted to do per the insurance contracts they have with their insureds. Less payments are not passed down to their insureds by lower premiums. It means they have more money to invest in the stock market, pay to their C-level executives and shareholders. Only a few people benefit – not all Floridians. I saw this first hand when the 2003 Worker’s Compensation tort reform passed. It devasted the rights that Floridians who were injured on the job and worker’s compensation premiums NEVER decreased. So, what do we do now? The immediate action is to understand the new tort reform changes and how it effects existing and future personal injury claims. The long-term action is to bring balance to the Florida Legislature by turning what is currently a Super Majority of Republicans to a more centrist government.
Here are the most important parts of the new law that everyone should now (and I will provide a more detailed analysis in the coming days):
- Effective Date of the New Tort Reform Law: It is effective immediately (as in today, March 24th, 2023). There is no grace period.
- Statute of Limitations Reduced: For a general negligence claim such as an auto accident, slip & fall or premises liability claim the statute of limitations has been REDUCED from 4 years to 2 years.
- Modified Comparative Negligence: If you are found to be 51% at fault for an incident in which you were injured, you will receive ZERO compensation.
- Bad Faith: Your right to file a bad faith claim against an insurance company has completely changed, making it more difficult to hold insurance companies accountable for their negligent handling of a claim.
- Expanding Immunity: It provides more immunity to property owners if a customer is injured on the premises by a criminal.
- Limits Medical Treatment: If you have no health insurance to receive treatment for injuries suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence, you will have less access to medical treatment because fewer medical providers are going to be willing to take provide medical services under a Letter of Protection (a deferment of payment until the case settles).
- Calculation of Medical Damages: Uniform standards are set to value medical bills. This will decrease the compensation for someone who is injured.
My team and I will fight against this new law both from a political standpoint and in the Courts.