16 February 2023

QPWB CLOSELY MONITORING FLORIDA LEGISLATURE’S 2023 TORT REFORM MEASURES

Contact Information

Managing Partner

Eric W. Boyer

305-670-1101, Ext. 1023

eboyer@qpwblaw.com

Release Date

16 February 2023

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TALLAHASSEE - When Governor DeSantis announced his Plan to Implement Comprehensive Lawsuit Reform measures this 2023 legislative session, the attorneys at QPWB sprang into action, providing their clients with up-to-the-minute information on the proposed legislation and formulating ways to promote the Governor’s initiatives in order to best serve our clients. QPWB attorneys represent businesses, individuals and insurers impacted by the litigation abuse driving Governor DeSantis’ reforms and will be monitoring the changes to the bills as they work their way through the legislative process.

QPWB’s clients know well how litigation abuses have cost them millions in unnecessary litigation, sometimes over amounts as small as $0.14. We applaud any efforts to save Florida’s homeowners, auto owners, and business owners’ insurance premiums and litigation expenses.

Some highlights of House Bill 837, sponsored by Representatives, Tommy Gregory, of District 72 in Manatee County and Tom Fabricio, of District 110 in Miami-Dade County, include:

  • Repeal Florida’s “One-Way Attorney Fee Statute” that allows unscrupulous attorneys to recover overwhelming attorney fees in litigation over sometimes minor amounts and is the driving force behind the PIP, Auto Glass, and AOB litigation clogging Florida courts and costing its insurers and citizens millions.
  • Creating Transparency in litigation by allowing defendants to show a jury when medical treatment for alleged injuries is the result of lucrative referral arrangements between doctors and lawyers
  • Limiting the Plaintiff’s ability to recover windfall damages for medical expenses that will never be paid to a medical provider or which are far in excess of the reasonable charges from providers who are not primarily involved in litigation-related claims
  • Joining multiple other states who bar a Plaintiff’s ability to recover from a defendant if the Plaintiff is more than 50% at fault for causing the injury

Some legislators have taken a more sweeping approach to tort reform and seek to scrap Florida’s costly and largely fraud-ridden no-fault system to be replaced by mandatory Bodily Injury Liability insurance and sweeping changes to Florida’s “Bad Faith” law  that imposes sometimes draconian penalties on insurers despite their best efforts to resolve claims within policy limits.

Some highlights of House Bill 429, sponsored by Daniel “Danny” Alvarez of District 69 in Hillsborough County, include:

  • Beginning July 1, 2024, repeals the No-Fault law, §§ 627.730-.7405, et seq. which will abolish all mandatory PIP coverage and eliminate the “permanency” threshold for Defendants
  • Implements statutory standards for $5,000 Medical Payments Coverage, which must be offered on all policies
  • Beginning July 1, 2024, requires Car Owners and Drivers to purchase Bodily Injury Liability Insurance of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, and Death Benefit coverage of at least $5,000,
  • Immediately implements statutory requirements for Auto Insurer’s Good Faith Claims Handling and Best Practices Standards and providing protections to insurers from bad faith claims in certain situations, including multiple competing claims from a single accident and an insured’s failure to cooperate in responding to settlement demands
  • Beginning  July 1, 2024, increases Minimum Financial Responsibility Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability Coverage for Commercial Vehicles to varying amounts depending on the size of the vehicle,

These sweeping reforms are certain to meet strong resistance from the attorneys who have been profiting from the litigation abuse. The final version of these bills may lose some of the changes, but with the Governor’s backing, there is potential for many of the reforms to pass into law.

If you have questions regarding the legislation, how to contact your legislator, or to get a copy of these bills, please contact your legislator.

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