Florida HB 837 could significantly affect your personal injury case. The goal of this bill includes reducing lawsuits against insurance carriers. In addition, this bill could decrease your chances of holding the liable party accountable for your injuries. The bill could also:
- Cap how much compensation you can recover
- Change how claimants pay attorney’s fees
- Protect insurance companies against lawsuits
Because of these changes, you might not recover enough compensation to cover all your losses. By speaking to a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer, you could learn more about how this bill could impact your specific case.
Changes HB 837 Could Affect Your Personal Injury Case
The changes HB 837 could make to your West Palm Beach personal injury lawsuit include the following:
Compensation May Not Fully Account for Your Healthcare Expenses
You could recover damages based on your losses when you sustain an injury because of someone else’s negligence. Therefore, an attorney can calculate the value of your:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Lost income
- The future income you could lose
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Emotional distress
Previously, you could seek compensation for the value of your losses. Then, you could negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement. However, because of Florida HB 837, the compensation you could recover for your damages has a cap.
The cap of some rewards includes 140% of the Medicaid rate. Therefore, if you received medical care more expensive than that rate, you could be forced to pay for some expenses out of pocket.
Insurance Companies Can’t Be Compelled to Pay Attorney’s Fees
Lawsuits against insurance companies aren’t common, but they do happen. For instance, if the liable insurance company acts in bad faith (preventing you from recovering the full cost of your damages), you can sue. Compensation through a lawsuit could account for your damages, along with your attorney’s fees.
Florida HB 837 threatens to take away those rights. Therefore, if you lose your case, you could have to pay attorney’s out of pocket or from your settlement’s funds.
The Civil Statute of Limitations May Be Shorter
HB 837 hopes to change the state’s statute of limitations. Right now, under Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), you generally have four years to file a lawsuit. Yet, under HB 837, the statute of limitations would only give you two years.
Still, while you might think that’s a lot of time, you must remember the steps an attorney must take before filing a lawsuit. These steps could include:
- Investigating the accident: Investigations take time for attorneys to conduct. They include going to the accident scene, gathering evidence, reviewing the police report and photo or video footage, and speaking to witnesses.
- Building a case: After completing the investigation, an attorney can build a case based on negligence. To build a solid case, they must prove the liable party had a duty of care and breached their duty. They must also prove that their breach of duty caused your injuries and you incurred damages because of it.
- Negotiating a settlement: Negotiations with the opposing counsel could take time to conduct. Your attorneys will want as much time as possible to come to a fair agreement before filing a lawsuit. By cutting the statute of limitations timeline in half, your attorney has less time for negotiations.
Only having two years to complete these steps can lessen the attorney’s time to build something solid. Therefore, HB 837 could affect your Fort Myers personal injury lawsuit significantly.
Insurance Companies May Be Encouraged to Deny More Claims
Florida HB 837 takes away an insurance company’s responsibility to look out for the best interests of its customers. With the worry of a case going to trial decreased, they could deny claims more often. This means you might not receive full compensation for your losses.
When Will Representatives Vote on HB 837?
Per the Florida Senate, HB 837 was added to the special-order calendar in spring 2023. If it gets the majority vote, it would go into action immediately. This can significantly complicate matters for a Jacksonville personal injury lawsuit that has otherwise gone smoothly. One minute, the insurer could offer fair compensation, and the next, you could find yourself endlessly negotiating.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Explain How HB 837 Will Affect Your Case
For more information on how HB 837 could affect your personal injury case, speak to a member of our legal team. If this bill passes, we can provide information about how to move forward with a personal injury case.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we offer free consultations so you can learn more about your options. During the consultation, our attorneys can answer your questions and discuss whether you want to move forward with a personal injury case. We understand how confusing the changes HB 837 could cause. Our team wants to explain this legislature so you understand.
We Can Help.