Almost all states across the country are going to have some form of tort law in place. Tort law will cover how and when an individual can try and recover damages following an accident or other situation that results in a loss. Tort law is also purely a form of civil law and does not cover any criminal aspects that could arise from the same situation. In the past, Florida was considered to have an aggressive tort law that benefited the plaintiffs. However, the recently-passed reform bill in the state does change this a bit. All people should be aware of various aspects and features of Florida’s Tort Reform bill.

Statute of Limitations for Claims

One of the most significant changes that came with the Florida tort reform is a change in statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to the amount of time someone has to file a civil claim related to an accident that resulted in injuries or another loss. In the past, all people had up to four years to file a claim involving general negligence, including car accidents or slip and fall accidents.

Under the state’s new tort law reform, the statute of limitations for many of these cases has now been reduced to two years. This does not pertain to cases that started prior to the reform approval date in March 2023. It also does not include medical malpractice cases, which can take longer to resolve.

Comparative Negligence Impact on Claims

For those looking to file a civil claim, the concept of comparative negligence is important to understand. Regarding comparative negligence, the court will attempt to assign a percentage of blame to each party. In the past, a plaintiff could file a claim and potentially win damages even if the comparative negligence determined they were 99% at fault.

Under tort reform, the bar to win damages is much higher regarding comparative negligence. If a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, they will not be awarded any damages. If the defendant is 100% at fault, the plaintiff can recover all of their damages. If the defendant is between 50% and 99% at fault, the plaintiff will be awarded damages based on this percentage.

Multi-Family Owner Liability Changes

In Florida, owners of multi-family properties used to face significant liability risks. In the past, the property owner could be found liable if a tenant or visitor was injured due to a third-party’s actions. This will change as long as the property owner meets certain qualifications.

As long as the property owner does not hire the third party, the owner will likely not be liable for damages if they follow proper processes to keep the building safe and secure. This includes ensuring proper security cameras are installed at all entrances, public areas, and hallways are properly lit, and the building and all units have secure locks.

The state of Florida’s tort reform bill can have a major impact on when and how someone can collect and pursue damages from a negligent party. If you have been involved in an accident, or have incurred a loss due to the liability or negligence of another party, having an attorney by your side is very important. Civil attorneys can offer various services to ensure you are properly represented and receive fair compensation for any damages you have incurred.