Businesses such as restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, convenience stores and others will be affected by major changes to Florida's tort law. Please see Holland & Knight's alert, "Florida Enacts Major Tort Reform and Bad-Faith Insurance Claim Legislation," published on March 28, 2023.
The bill, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, went into effect on March 24, 2023. A rush to the courthouse with negligence lawsuits in advance of its effective date on the same day suggests that HB 837 will curtail the overall tort liability confronted by all kinds of companies operating in Florida.
The bill replaces the state's system of pure comparative negligence with a modified comparative negligence regime, shortens the statute of limitations for general negligence actions from four years to two, amends the standard for bad-faith insurance claims, outlines the evidence that a factfinder calculating medical damages in personal injury or wrongful death actions should consider, requires new disclosures about letters of protection used to obtain medical treatment, limits the use of contingency-fee multipliers when calculating attorneys' fees, and replaces joint and several liability with comparative negligence in certain negligent security cases.