Florida has Stolen the Rights of Victims of Negligence
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Florida has Stolen the Rights of Victims of Negligence

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Victims of Negligence

Unfortunately, during the recent legislative session, the Florida Legislature destroyed decades of laws that shielded victims of negligence in Florida from profit-driven insurance companies.

In May, 2023, in a sweeping new law written by insurance company lobbyists, the folks in Tallahassee stripped the rights of victims of negligence. The new law ensured billions in profits for insurance companies, without mandating any reduction of insurance premiums for customers.

How did this happen? It is because our Florida legislature has been the subject of constant pressure from Big Insurance to bail them out and help ensure their continued profitability

Here is how it affects you:

You could be barred from filing a case if you wait too long.

Under the new law, victims of negligence  must file a lawsuit within two years of the occurrence that injured you. For decades, the limitation has been four years. It was cut in half. Unfortunately, this will clog the court system, as cases take time to develop and more cases will enter the courts earlier than they should.

You will be barred from recovering any money if you are found more than 50 percent at fault for your accident.

Let’s say you turn left in front of a person in your car while driving. You get hit by another driver and you become paralyzed and will need care for the rest of your life. However, the person who hit you was going 100 miles per hour. If they weren’t speeding, perhaps they could have avoided you or stopped. You both may be partially at fault. However, if the insurance company convinces a jury you are more than 50 percent at fault, you get NONE of your medical bills paid off, and NOTHING for your lifetime of pain and suffering. This threshold used to be different; if you were 75% at fault, you could get 25% of your damages. No longer. Insurance companies win; you lose.

Your attorney’s fees may no longer be paid by the insurance company when they wrongfully deny a claim.

For 130 years, there has been a safeguard in Florida against insurance companies wrongfully denying a claim. The safeguard was that they had to pay your attorney’s fees, once they lost (which they usually did). However, this law has now been repealed.

For example, if you have a claim from a Hurricane for $100,000 in roof damage, and the insurance company wrongfully denies your claim and then gives up shortly before trial, $40,000 of the $100,000 goes to your lawyer, and you only get $60,000 (even though it will cost $100,000 to fix your roof). Before the new law, you would get the entire $100,000 and the insurance company would pay your attorney. No longer. Insurance companies win again.

This new law has many other parts to it- all of it is bad for the citizens of Florida. The insurance companies, once again, fooled the public, and the legislature, that insurance companies are the victim of a culture of “frivolous lawsuits”.

Next time you see an endless stream of commercials for Progressive, Geico, Liberty Mutual, and other insurance companies, ask yourself where their advertising budgets come from, and why such budgets are so big. The answer? Your skyrocketing premiums, and no accountability. Sadly, Big Insurance wins again, and you lose. Next time you choose a candidate to vote for in future elections, see where they stand on whether they want to protect Florida’s citizens or protect Insurance Company profits. Your vote matters.

GOLDLAW can help!

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the reckless actions of an individual or third party in West Palm Beach, you may be eligible to take action against the negligent party who caused you or your loved one harm. GOLDLAW can help you through this process.

GOLDLAW personal injury attorneys have over 200 years of combined legal experience, and will fight to get you the best possible compensation for your case.

Get started today by contacting us to set up a free consultation.