Major changes are due to come with Florida Tort Reform Bill (HB 837). So, what does this mean for you as a healthcare provider in Florida?
HB 837 (Tort reform bill) impacts you as health care providers, Floridians, and drivers on the roadways.
The bill, as drafted, is proposed to take effect on July 1, 2023, and the start of the legislative session is fast approaching on March 7th.
On February 14, 2023, Florida’s Governor, the President of the Florida Senate, and the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives jointly appeared at a press conference to express their dissatisfaction with the state of certain aspects of Florida’s civil justice system and to announce a pre-filed bill for the upcoming legislative session, HB 837. The bill’s proposed changes are likely to impact small businesses, large corporations, and insurers alike, and would represent a substantial shift in the landscape for insurance coverage, third-party bad faith, and insurance defense law in Florida.
The authors of the bill claim that because of excessive litigation, tied to a legal system that benefits lawyers more than their injured clients, Florida has earned the dubious title of a “judicial hellhole” among the business community. As a fix, DeSantis promised to push for tort reform during the upcoming spring legislative session starting March 7th following similar tort reforms made recently in December during a special legislative session dealing with property insurance in an effort to reign in climbing premium rates.
One of the changes most worthy of attention is the proposed reform of Florida’s pure comparative fault statute. The legislation currently being contemplated would place Florida in the category of those states that follow a modified contributory negligence standard. In other words, if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault, they recover nothing. There are also provisions for additional transparency in the medical records and bills which may be presented to a jury such that the jury will know if the treating physician is offering his or her skills to the allegedly injured plaintiff under a “Letter of Protection” and whether the figure stated on the final invoice for all the medical treatment has been reduced by a recovery from another source. The bill would further remove attorney-client privilege as to communications relevant to the attorney’s referral of a client for medical treatment.
Doctor Treating a patient with personal injury
HB 837 (or Tort reform bill) impacts you as health care providers, as well as Floridians and drivers on the roadways. The bill stands to reduce both the level of care and potential recovery injured parties currently have in Florida. In favor of large insurance companies, it attacks letters of protection; the collectible amount for outstanding patient bills in personal injury cases; disclosure of your referral sources; changes to bad faith laws; and the amount an injured person can recover when the person who caused the accident is only partially at fault.
What do you think about this new bill?
Be sure to Contact your district representative to get proper assessment and watch for further updates at MyFloridaHouse.gov. as we continue to keep watch over the issues important to personal injury healthcare providers.