The Florida Governor elections are rapidly approaching. Held on November 4, the elections will determine who governs the state of Florida for the next four years. The current Governor, incumbent Rick Scott (R), is hoping to spend another four years in office, while his challenger, Charlie Crist (D) (who was Governor of the state from 2007 until 2011), plans on ousting Scott.
So far, the race is close with some polls putting Scott slightly ahead, and others Crist slightly ahead. Of course, the outcome of this election will have significant impacts on a variety of aspects of the lives of all Floridians.
More specifically, the results of the gubernatorial election in Florida may lead to some forms of tort reform in the state. At Chalik & Chalik Law Offices, we are monitoring any new developments closely, as they may strongly influence the actions we take when helping our clients navigate the legal landscape.
What is a tort?
A tort is simply a civil wrong that can be corrected by awarding damages. For example, a surgeon who is negligent when performing surgery, ultimately leading to injuries to the patient, has committed a tort. A driver who causes an accident that injures a pedestrian, has also committed a tort.
In both cases, the surgeon and the driver could be liable for damages. In order to remedy the situation, the patient could then pursue a civil lawsuit in order to reclaim damages related to the civil wrong.
What is tort reform?
In order to file a civil lawsuit, certain procedures and steps must be followed to make the claim legitimate. For example, victims must demonstrate the liability of the defendant, and must file a claim within a certain period of time, in order to be able to seek compensation.
Tort reform, then, is simply the attempt to modify the legal procedures or grounds on which a victim of a tort may pursue damages. Proponents of tort reform often seek to raise or cap the amount of recoverable damages, or place a statute of limitations or shorten/lengthen the existing statute of limitations for specific torts.
Tort Reform in Florida Gubernatorial Elections
Since becoming Governor of Florida, Rick Scott has signed off on pieces of legislation aimed at limiting the ability of plaintiff’s to sue based on sustained injuries. For example, in 2011, Governor Scott passed a bill aimed to decrease the amount of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits initiated, much to the excitement of the large medical lobby within Florida.
Furthermore, a bill was enacted by the Florida legislature that requires jurors in car accident cases to examine a larger amount of factors than in previous years. Challenger Charlie Crist could take a separate stance on tort reform.
A 2010 editorial in the National Review Online proclaims that he signed a bill that year leading to higher awards for tort lawyers; a separate 2010 article in Legal Newsline states that, as Governor, Crist signed a bill that placed heavier burdens on the plaintiffs in slip and fall cases.
Your Voice Matters in This Election
Ultimately, both individuals could play a large part in the process of tort reform in the coming years in the state of Florida. These developments, in turn, could affect those who wish to initiate civil lawsuits in hopes of recovering compensation for the damages they’ve suffered.
At Chalik & Chalik Law Office, we are continuously following any tort reform developments, and will take any new developments in stride as we work tirelessly for our clients. If you need legal assistance in Florida, contact us immediately at 855-529-0269.