Changes to Florida’s comparative negligence law will impact the rights of car accident victims found partially at fault for a collision. Changes will also significantly impact the rights of motorcyclists as the summer riding season gets underway.
Florida’s new tort reform law went into effect March 24. Whenever you hear tort reform, you can be assured lawmakers are limiting the rights of injury victims to recover compensation under the guise of protecting corporations from trial lawyers. The reality is that studies continue to show that large jury verdicts have little impact on the overall costs and profits of large insurance corporations. Limiting the rights of victims is just a handout to lobbyists and large insurers, which are routinely among the largest donors to political campaigns in Florida.
Among the most egregious changes (and there are many), is that Florida now follows a modified comparative negligence standard, rather than a pure comparative negligence standard. Under previous law, a victim found to be partially at fault could still collect damages in proportion to the liability of an at-fault motorist. So even if a victim was found at 80 percent fault, he or she could still recover 20 percent damages from another at-fault motorist and his or her insurance carrier. Under the new law, victims found at majority fault (50.1 percent) will be barred from seeking a recovery.