ORLANDO—According to a recent report published by the Perryman Group, Florida's lawsuit climate is incredibly poor, and it is costing the state billions in funding and thousands in jobs on a yearly basis — problems that likely require reform soon if they are to be solved in the future.
Daniel J. Gerber, an Orlando-based attorney with Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, commented on the costs of tort-related lawsuits in Florida.
"Political leaders and the courts have to recognize that the failure to limit inappropriate and unsupported lawsuits has dramatic cost effects, including insurance costs, which are then either passed along to the consumers or limit job growth," Gerber told the Florida Record.
According to the Perryman Group report, every Floridian is paying roughly $357 a year toward excessive tort lawsuits — those in which the plaintiffs claim personal injury for alleged negligence or misdeeds by defendants. Local governments are faced with direct annual costs of $516 million related to the flawed civil justice systems costs, the report states.
"The legislature and the courts should be concerned about issues like assignments of benefits, which dramatically increase unjustified and unsupportable lawsuits," Gerber said. "Those leaders also have to address 'truth in damages' laws in personal injury actions to appropriately limit damages which can be sought in personal injury cases to those actually suffered by the person who claims to be injured."
Gerber explained that this means instead of considering what he calls "speculative and unsupported damages," which arise in personal injury cases, plaintiffs should be limited in what they can ask for.
"Plaintiffs' needs to be limited to the honest measure of their damages, especially medical bills, rather than unsupported claims," he said.