New Florida Law Limits the Rights of Car Accident Victims
Victims of car accidents in Florida deserve to recover every penny owed to them. These are often traumatic events that change their lives – both in the short and long term.
A recent tort reform law signed into law in Florida, House Bill 837, places additional limits on what damages can be recovered in civil cases. The bill also includes provisions that protect insurance companies from bad-faith actions. Understanding these changes will play an important role in your Florida car accident case.
Comparative negligence changes
Previous to this reform, car accident victims could recover the financial damages up to the amount the other party was found to be held responsible. For example, if you suffered $15,000 worth of damages and the other party was determined to be 35% responsible then you would be owed $5,250. If they were 80% responsible, then you would be owed $12,000.
Under this new law, victims can only recover damages if they were found to be less than 50% responsible for the accident. That means if the other party is found to be 45% responsible then you can recover $0. If the other party is found to be more than 50% responsible then you would still recover the percentage of damages they are considered responsible for.
This new change moves Florida to what is referred to as modified comparative negligence.
Bad faith insurance protections
One of the other major changes under this law is that insurance companies have the opportunity to get away with bad-faith actions with no consequences. In the past, if an insurance company intentionally acted in bad faith by denying or underpaying a claim, then they would be held responsible for doing so.
Under HB 837, an insurance company must be notified about a claim of bad faith and will be given 90 days to remedy the issue. If they refuse, then a lawsuit can be filed to recover those damages (if your case succeeds). However, if they remedy the bad-faith action within 90 days then there is no penalty to the insurer – allowing them to get away with temporarily inconveniencing and causing strife to victims of car accidents in Florida.
Medical bill recovery
The final element that will have relevance in most Florida car accident cases is the way this new law treats medical bills. This change is particularly complicated, but, in short, it allows Medicare and Medicaid, the insurers, to set the prices for medical coverage and not the actual healthcare provider in cases where someone uses those services or does not have insurance.
This means you may end up having to pay more for medical coverage than you are actually legally able to recover. We are disappointed to see the way car accident victims are being treated under the guise of punishing what the state has called “frivolous lawsuits.”At The FAB Law Firm, we fight to recover every penny owed to our clients. If you are the victim of a Florida car accident, you are still owed for your losses and will be sure you get what you deserve. Contact our team right away and get your case started.