With all the publicity about the presidential race, Florida’s Amendment 3 and other amendments on the ballot have taken a backseat and how they are decided could have far-reaching effects on the insurance agents — on election day, not many voters had the slightest idea how the amendment would effect them.
Insurance Journal Southeast talked to several Florida independent insurance agents, asking how they felt about Amendment 3, and amazingly, even on election day, none had investigated the details or implications of this amendment to the insurance industry and very few had made up their mind about how to vote.
Amendment 3 reduces lawyers’ fees in injury cases. It would limit the share of damages that patients’ lawyers would receive in medical malpractice cases – it would restrict the amount of money that a lawyer could collect to 30 percent of the first $250,000 of an award and 10 percent of money above that, excluding court costs.
Radio and television commercials run before the election confused the voting public.
Amendment 3 allows patients who are injured in a medical liability case to receive the majority of an award, rather than the attorney. Right now the attorneys take 40 percent to 60 percent of the amount a patient is awarded.
The amendment was proposed by a group backed by Florida doctors. They say lawyers already get far too much of the take when a patient is injured. They say the amendment would give lawyers ‘fair’ compensation.
Florida Supreme Court Justice R. Fred Lewis said “the amendment actually has the singular and only purpose of impeding a citizen’s access to the courts and a citizen’s right and ability to secure representation for redress of injuries.”
Opponents of the amendment say that it limits the amount of money a victim may pay their lawyer; but does nothing to limit or restrict how much the doctors and insurance companies can spend trying to defeat the claim of the victim.