What is House Bill 837 and how will it affect Tampa Bay residents?
Posted By Darrigo & Diaz
Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 837 into law, introducing sweeping reform to Florida legislature. Here, we explain how the new law affects Tampa Bay residents.
On March 24, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping tort reform law known as House Bill 837. The new bill became effectively immediately and introduces major changes to how Floridians can pursue insurance claims. In our new blog, we break down the bill and explain how this new law affects you.
What is House Bill 837?
House Bill 837 is one of the most extensive revisions of state tort law ever. The bill changes Florida’s negligence-based damage recovery system from comparative negligence to modified comparative negligence. This is a big deal, and here’s why. The bill imposes significant limitations on how insurance policyholders can hold insurance companies accountable to pay their claims.
House Bill 837 introduces changes that better protect the profits of insurance companies and not Floridians. Specifically, it changes how victims of negligent acts, such as auto accidents or slips and falls, can pursue compensation.
What changes does House Bill 837 include?
Modified comparative negligence – House Bill 837 changes Florida to a modified comparative negligence system. In other words, if a person is found to be more than 50% at fault for causing an accident, he or she can’t recover anything to pay for medical bills or damages. Before the law passed, you could recover compensation based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you were found to be 70% at fault for causing an accident, you could still recover up to 30% to help pay for your bills.
Statute of limitations cut in half – The statute of limitations for filing a civil case based on negligence is now two years. Previously, you had four years to file a claim. This is a major issue for individuals who require several years to recover from serious accidents.
Limits on medical damage – House Bill 837 limits how much money you can recover for medical bills after an accident. And, if you don’t have insurance, the new bill restricts reimbursements at the Medicare rate. This change could be devastating for uninsured Floridians.
Limits on accountability – The bill reduces the instances in which a property owner is accountable for injuries that occur on premises.
Restricts rights to file bad faith lawsuits – The new bill seemingly champions insurance companies because it lessens your ability to file a lawsuit against them if they are acting in bad faith. Now, if an insurance company is acting in bad faith, they must receive written notice of their alleged violation and be provided the opportunity to correct their behavior within 120 days. This essentially gives insurance companies room to get away with more.
How does House Bill 837 affect Tampa Bay residents?
Undoubtedly, House Bill 837 will affect the daily lives of Tampa Bay residents. It restricts your rights to pursue insurance claims for auto accidents, life policies, property damage, and medical procedures.
One of the most concerning impacts for Tampa Bay residents is how the bill removes incentive for large corporations, such as Walmart, to keep customers safe on premise. If these corporations will not be held liable for slips and falls on their property, they will be less inclined to take extra safety precautions. And now, your insurance company has more leeway to deny, delay, or decrease your settlements.
If you have questions about House Bill 837 or are concerned about these changes, please call our office at 813-437-9077.
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If your or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Tampa, the skilled car accident attorneys at Darrigo & Diaz are here to help. Since 1999, we have helped individuals throughout Tampa Bay get the justice and compensation they need and deserve. We have the expertise and experience you need to take on big corporations and insurance companies in the courtroom. We fight for our clients, ensuring they receive the physical, emotional and financial support they need to heal, recover, and move forward.