Florida PIP State and HB 837

Read­ing Time: 4 min­utes

Flori­da House Bill 837 (HB 837), also known as the Tort Reform Act, is a bill that was signed into law by Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis on March 24, 2023

Florida Tort Reform Act of 2023

What Is Tort Law

Tort law is a branch of civ­il law that deals with wrong­ful acts that cause harm to anoth­er per­son. Torts can be inten­tion­al, such as assault and bat­tery, or unin­ten­tion­al, such as neg­li­gence. Tort law allows vic­tims of wrong­ful acts to seek com­pen­sa­tion for their loss­es, such as med­ical expens­es, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

There are many dif­fer­ent types of torts, but some of the most com­mon include:

  • Neg­li­gence: This is a fail­ure to act with the care that a rea­son­able per­son would use in the same situation.
  • Inten­tion­al torts: These are acts that are done inten­tion­al­ly and that cause harm to anoth­er per­son. Some exam­ples of inten­tion­al torts include assault, bat­tery, and defamation.
  • Strict lia­bil­i­ty: This is a type of tort in which lia­bil­i­ty is imposed even if the defen­dant did not act neg­li­gent­ly. Some exam­ples of strict lia­bil­i­ty torts include prod­uct lia­bil­i­ty and premis­es liability.

If you have been injured as a result of some­one else’s wrong­ful act, you may be able to file a tort law­suit. To be suc­cess­ful in a tort law­suit, you must prove that the defen­dant owed you a duty of care, that the defen­dant breached that duty of care, that your injuries were caused by the defen­dan­t’s breach of duty, and that you suf­fered dam­ages as a result of your injuries.

Tort law is a com­plex area of law, and it is impor­tant to speak with an attor­ney if you have been injured as a result of some­one else’s wrong­ful act. An attor­ney can help you under­stand your legal rights and options and can rep­re­sent you in court if you decide to file a lawsuit.

Why is Florida called a PIP State?

Flori­da is called a PIP state because it requires all dri­vers to have per­son­al injury pro­tec­tion (PIP) insur­ance. PIP insur­ance is a type of no-fault insur­ance that pays for your med­ical expens­es and lost wages up to a cer­tain amount, regard­less of who is at fault for the accident.

PIP insur­ance was first intro­duced in Flori­da in 1971 as a way to reduce the num­ber of law­suits filed after car acci­dents. The idea was that if dri­vers knew that they would be cov­ered for their med­ical expens­es regard­less of who was at fault, they would be less like­ly to file lawsuits.

PIP insur­ance has been suc­cess­ful in reduc­ing the num­ber of law­suits filed after car acci­dents in Flori­da. How­ev­er, it has also been crit­i­cized for being expen­sive and for not pro­vid­ing enough cov­er­age for some people.

Despite the crit­i­cisms, PIP insur­ance remains a require­ment for all dri­vers in Flori­da. If you are a dri­ver in Flori­da, you are required to have at least $10,000 in PIP insurance.

How Does HB 837 Impact PIP Statutes?

On March 24, 2023, Flori­da Gov­er­nor Ron DeSan­tis signed into law one of the most sig­nif­i­cant tort reform bills in Flori­da his­to­ry, HB 837¹. This new law makes sweep­ing changes to long-stand­ing Flori­da civ­il tort law in numer­ous areas relat­ed to neg­li­gence, insur­ance bad faith and relat­ed rules of evi­dence, among oth­er­s¹³. The bill is expect­ed to have last­ing impacts on per­son­al injury, wrong­ful death, and insur­er bad faith lit­i­ga­tion in the state of Flori­da².

(1) Flori­da’s New Tort Reform Law Cuts Neg­li­gence Statute of Lim­i­ta­tions in …. https://www.jimersonfirm.com/blog/2023/04/florida-tort-reform-statute-of-limitations-change/.
(2) Flori­da Enacts Major Tort Reform and Bad-Faith Insur­ance Claim …. https://www.hklaw.com/en/insights/publications/2023/03/florida-enacts-major-tort-reform-and-bad-faith-insurance-claim.
(3) House Bill 837 — Flori­da Tort Reform — Tay­lor, Day, Grimm & Boyd. https://www.taylordaylaw.com/2023/04/house-bill-837/.
(4) Flori­da Pass­es Tort Reform: What You Need to Know. https://marshalldennehey.com/articles/florida-passes-tort-reform-what-you-need-know.
(5) Tort Reform Over­hauls Florida’s Lit­i­ga­tion Land­scape. https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2023/4/tort-reform-overhauls-floridas-litigation-landscape.

The bill makes a number of changes to the state’s personal injury laws, including:

  • Reduc­ing the statute of lim­i­ta­tions for per­son­al injury cas­es from four years to two years. This means that vic­tims of per­son­al injury have less time to file a law­suit after being injured.
  • Allow­ing insur­ance com­pa­nies to offer low­er set­tle­ments to vic­tims who are par­tial­ly at fault for their own injuries. This change could make it more dif­fi­cult for vic­tims to recov­er full com­pen­sa­tion for their losses.
  • Lim­it­ing the amount of non-eco­nom­ic dam­ages that vic­tims can recov­er in per­son­al injury cas­es. Non-eco­nom­ic dam­ages are dam­ages for things like pain and suf­fer­ing, emo­tion­al dis­tress, and loss of qual­i­ty of life.

These changes are like­ly to have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on per­son­al injury vic­tims in Flori­da. The reduced statute of lim­i­ta­tions could make it more dif­fi­cult for vic­tims to file a law­suit and recov­er com­pen­sa­tion for their loss­es. The low­er set­tle­ments and lim­its on non-eco­nom­ic dam­ages could also make it more dif­fi­cult for vic­tims to get the full com­pen­sa­tion they deserve.

It is impor­tant to note that these are just some of the changes that Flori­da HB 837 makes to the state’s per­son­al injury laws. There are a num­ber of oth­er changes that could impact vic­tims, so it is impor­tant to speak with an attor­ney if you have been injured in an acci­dent.

Here are some of the argu­ments in favor of Flori­da HB 837:

  • The bill will reduce the num­ber of friv­o­lous law­suits filed in Florida.
  • The bill will make it more dif­fi­cult for plain­tiffs to recov­er large sums of mon­ey in per­son­al injury cases.
  • The bill will pro­tect insur­ance com­pa­nies from being tak­en advan­tage of by plaintiffs.

Here are some of the argu­ments against Flori­da HB 837:

  • The bill will make it more dif­fi­cult for vic­tims of per­son­al injury to get the com­pen­sa­tion they deserve.
  • The bill will shift the cost of per­son­al injury cas­es from defen­dants to insur­ance com­pa­nies and ulti­mate­ly to consumers.
  • The bill will dis­cour­age peo­ple from tak­ing legal action against those who have injured them.

Ulti­mate­ly, the impact of Flori­da HB 837 on per­son­al injury vic­tims remains to be seen. How­ev­er, it is clear that the bill will make it more dif­fi­cult for vic­tims to recov­er com­pen­sa­tion for their losses.