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The New 51% Rule: What It Means for Your Injury Claim

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On March 24, 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law House Bill 837, an impactful tort reform bill that has reshaped personal injury cases and how claims are handled.  A large part of this reform was the introduction of a new comparative negligence law, replacing the former pure comparative negligence system that has been in place since 1973.

Under the former law, an individual could be 99% at-fault for an accident, but still file a claim and recover 1% of their damages.  Now, if the plaintiff’s degree of fault exceeds 50%, they are barred from seeking any compensation at all from the defendant.  While this may seem fair in the first example, liability is sometimes complex to determine.  For example, a vehicle travels down a highway going 20 miles per hour above the speed limit.  Another vehicle comes from a cross street, rolls through a stop sign, and pulls out onto the highway in front of the oncoming vehicle.  There is a collision, and both drivers are seriously injured.  If this claim proceeds to trial, it will be up to a jury to assign a percentage of liability to each driver.  Unless the jury determines that each party is exactly 50% at fault, someone will be left uncompensated for their medical expenses, wage loss, and other damages.  On other words, they will be completely responsible for all of their losses, despite the fact that someone else was liable for a large percentage of those damages.

The new statute has had a negative impact for victims in premises liability and negligent security claims, as well.  Before enactment of the new law, negligent security cases involving injuries caused by third-party tortfeasors only considered the victim and the property owner. However, the reform now allows for the blame and liability to be shifted from a negligent property owner to an intentional wrongdoer.  As a result, property owners may have reduced liability, which raises concerns that this change may discourage property owners from implementing adequate security measures. Now, if someone is wearing a high heel shoe and slips and falls, they will have to overcome the argument that they are more than 51% liable, simply because of the shoes they were wearing.

Because the passage of the Florida Tort Reform Act has brought significant changes to personal injury actions in Florida, it is crucial that you have a legal expert that understands these new rules and their implications, to assist you with your injury claim.  Our team of personal injury attorneys are experienced and well researched in these developments, making our team well-equipped to guide you or your loved one through the injury claim process, and help minimize any negative impacts of HB-837.

Have Questions?

Our team of attorneys has nearly 100 years of combined experience in helping clients understand their legal options following an injury and getting them the compensation they deserve. Contact Legler, Murphy & Battaglia to schedule a free consultation!

Vanessa Castro Viera
Vanessa Castro Viera
November 3, 2023
I had the privilege of working with Kelli Martinez as my personal injury attorney, and I can't express enough how grateful I am for her exceptional guidance and support throughout the entire process. From the moment I first contacted her to the conclusion of my case, Kelli demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensuring my rights were protected and that I received the compensation I deserved. I highly recommend her to anyone seeking legal representation for personal injury cases.
Jen Wiradilaga (SWFL Horses)
Jen Wiradilaga (SWFL Horses)
October 19, 2023
I am so pleased with the service and care Mr. Murphy has shown. Always has time for a phone call , emailed questions are answered so quickly , it is refreshing. I had guidance every step of the way. My Case was settled quickly and effectively. Everyone that is in this off is is exceptional! Thank you so much
amanda reese
amanda reese
October 17, 2023
Mr. Murphy and his team were amazing to work with. In a stressful situation they were on top of making sure I understood my options and walking me through the process when I’d stress out. He fought to make sure I was fairly treated and not just another person swept under the rug and forgot about. I highly recommend him if you ever need and hope to have a timely resolution and team that is top notch.
Ana Maria Araujo
Ana Maria Araujo
October 12, 2023
I am very grateful to Ed Murphy for accepting my case against work compensation, otherwise I wouldn't have had another doctor for a second examination and I would have been at home without being able to work again. I am thankful for all the work Ed and his assistant Jessica have done in my case. I am very happy with the service, every time I called I was treated very nicely by the front desk staff, Kelly. Thanks
Carlene Overacker
Carlene Overacker
October 6, 2023
I highly recommend Mr. Murphy. He immediately responded to the issues I was having with my workers compensation case. He reached out to me in a timely manner. I was always able to get ahold of him via the phone and emails. I never felt rushed in our meetings and conversations. He was professional and courteous. I am very satisfied how quickly I received my settlement.
Erica Aghoian
Erica Aghoian
September 22, 2023
I highly recommend contacting Ed Murphy with your worker's compensation case. From day one he took the time to explain all aspects of the case, listened to my questions and concerns, and kept me up-to-date as the case progressed. I believe he was able to achieve the best possible outcome with my case, and I couldn't be happier to have worked with him. I had never hired an attorney before, but he immediately put me at ease and had my trust. Great experience from start to finish!
Patricia Lara
Patricia Lara
September 12, 2023
I can't say enough how much help Ed Murphy was during such a difficult situation. From day one he was understanding and made us feel at ease. He helped us achieve the most positive out come in our law suit with workers comp. If you ever need assistance I highly recommend contacting Ed Murphy!
Trust Cleaning Inc
Trust Cleaning Inc
August 15, 2023
This message is for anyone who needs a good lawyer, I recommend Ed Murphy because he is a professional and patient person, he fights until the end of his case or any type of case, I recommend him to everyone 100% . there is no other attorney like ed murphy i just have to say thank you so much for helping me with my accident case.

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