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Major Changes in Florida Statutory Laws on Negligence Lawsuits

The Florida Legislature has enacted changes to the laws governing negligence lawsuits, which became effective on March 24, 2023. Before, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit based on negligence was 4 years. The new law reduces the statute of limitations to 2 years. Thus, if you have been injured or suffered damages as the result of someone’s negligence, you must file suit no later than 2 years from the date of injury or damage. If you miss the 2-year deadline, you are out of luck since your claim will be barred.

The law for comparative negligence also underwent a substantial change under the new legislation. Comparative negligence allows for a jury, or judge in a nonjury trial, to apportion fault based on the percentage of fault attributable to the plaintiff and defendant. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 30 percent at fault, and the plaintiff suffered $1 million in damages, then his damages would be reduced by $300,000 to $700,000. Under the new law, if a plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault, then the plaintiff gets zero. Thus, under the above example, if the plaintiff was 51 percent at fault, under the old law the plaintiff would receive $490,000 in damages. Under the new law, he would receive nothing. This is a major shift in the law and will benefit defendants and insurance companies. There is an exception in the new law for personal injury and wrongful death claims arising out of medical negligence. For these claims, the old comparative law remains in effect.
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