There have been a number of proposed replacements for the current no-fault system in place yet not one has received enough legislative steam to replace the $10,000.00 PIP coverage that is mandatory for Florida drivers. Florida Senate member Joe Negron, Rep. Jim Boyd, Rep. Ritch Workman, and Rep. Mike Horner all oppose and have recommended new proposals to substitute the present Florida no-fault system in place.
The House is currently reviewing HB-119 with several recent amendments onto proposed legislation that changes the present no-fault auto insurance system. This proposal would replace PIP with a similar form of no-fault insurance called “Emergency Care Coverage”. This requires the injured party in an auto accident to seek treatment at the emergency room and limits the types of medical providers that the victim can see for follow up treatment. The bill caps attorney’s fees, and allows the insurance company to have additional time to investigate the claim, as well as allowing physicians retained by the applicable insurance carrier to evaluate their insured.
As a Florida PIP Attorney, I believe this will allow hospitals to gouge the $10,000.00 in available coverage and one can only imagine a system in which every auto accident victim received multiple CT-scans and X-rays in an effort by the hospital to garner as much of the $10,000.00 as possible. Is it any shocker that Governor (and former embattled HCA Chairman) Rick Scott is a strong supporter of this bill?
Another amendment would add Chiropractors to the list of medical professionals that can perform follow-up treatments under PIP coverage, and would also require drivers to have bodily injury as well as PIP on their insurance.
Growing incidents of fraud have made the Florida no-fault system a frequent target for staged accidents. Unfortunately those who abuse the system are creating a heavy public burden that has prompted a climate for change. I believe simply banning lawyer referral services like Pain-411 and 1-800-Ask-Gary would reduce the number of PIP claims statewide. This is an issue that the legislature should look closely at. It is my opinion that the lawyer referral services often encourage many Floridians to seek medical treatment with inducements of “up to $10,000.00” for calling the service and retaining an affiliated attorney. These advertisements often do little in the way of explaining how the $10,000.00 is actually insurance benefits available to the injured party as opposed to cold hard cash that the auto accident victim would be able to use.
Tampa Personal Injury Law Firm
Matthew A. Dolman, Esq., is a Tampa personal injury attorney who limits his practice to first and third party claims relating to an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, traumatic brain injury, catastrophic injury, pedestrian injury, wrongful death and insurance carrier bad faith.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a Pinellas County personal injury and civil trial law firm offering aggressive and competent representation against all insurance carriers to consumers throughout the Tampa Bay area including the cities of Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Largo, Safety Harbor, Pinellas Park, Kenneth City, St. Petersburg Beach, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Bradenton, Sarasota and Tampa.
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