24 March, 2023

Florida Governor DeSantis Signs 2023 Tort Reform Bill Into Law, Avoids Rush of Personal Injury Claims for Florida Businesses

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In: Client Alert

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In a matter of hours after the Senate passed the 2023 tort reform bill, Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, signed the comprehensive bill into law providing immediate relief for businesses and business owners in the state. This legislation introduces new limitations and regulations on insurance claims.

As noted in past releases, the new law extends limits on one-way attorney fees, assignments of benefits, and other provisions to most types of insurance claims. This means that businesses and business owners should be prepared for:

  • A reduction in the occurrence of frivolous lawsuits.
  • More stringent regulations regarding attorney fees.
  • Changes to the assignment of benefits process, which may affect how claims are handled and resolved.

With the governor having signed House Bill 837 into law, businesses and business owners avoided a potential surge in claims filed by plaintiffs' lawyers. Some personal injury law firms had been moving to file tens of thousands of claims before the new changes came into effect.

These new regulations aim to reduce strain on the insurance industry and the legal system. Insurance carriers and county clerks of court may still face an increased workload due to the rush of claims filed prior to the bill's enactment.

“The system was so rife with fraud and abuse, it virtually shut our county courts down,” said QPWB Partner, Dorothy V. DiFiore. “We applaud our legislators for providing this relief to our businesses. In the long run this bill should bring Floridian’s insurance premiums down and decrease the burden on our courts.”

Controversy Surrounding the Bill

The tort reform bill had sparked debate between critics and supporters. Critics continue to argue that the new regulations will not lead to lower insurance rates and may negatively impact policyholders and their attorneys. On the other hand, supporters maintain that the legislation is necessary to curb legal system abuse, protect insurance coverage in the state, and ultimately benefit businesses and consumers.

With the legislation now in effect, it is crucial for businesses and business owners to stay informed about the bill's implications and be prepared for the changes it brings including:

  • Reviewing existing insurance policies and assessing how the new regulations may affect coverage and claims handling.
  • Consulting with legal counsel to understand the potential impact of the new limitations on attorney fees and assignments of benefits.
  • Staying updated on any developments or revisions to the legislation.

The enactment of Florida's new tort reform bill is a significant development for businesses and business owners in the state. It is vital for companies to stay informed and adapt.

QPWB Attorney and Orlando-based Partner Elizabeth Collins Plummer said, “We support the legislature’s efforts to encourage greater transparency and restore balance to Florida’s legal system, so that both plaintiffs and defendants receive fair and reasonable outcomes in civil litigation. We will be prepared to meet the challenges ahead.”

At QPWB Law, we are committed to helping our clients navigate these developments and protect their interests through the creation of a designated Tort Reform Response Task Force that will allow our clients to respond quickly and effectively to the new law changes. If you have any questions or concerns about how the new tort reform bill may affect your business, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team of experienced attorneys.

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