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Mass Filings, False Promises and Sham Pleadings in Personal Injury Protection Cases(“PIP”)

What are mass filings?

Mass filings in the context of PIP, in my opinion, are filing as many lawsuits as you can get your hands on without reviewing them prior for their merits. Going to a medical provider and blindly pulling as many files as you can without reviewing the dates of loss, or dates of service can be a part of this process.

Remember when you file a lawsuit against an insurance company, there are people on the other side of that lawsuit who need to respond to the said lawsuit. This takes time and resources. Most insurance companies have staffing budgets and a large amount of training per hire. This means they cannot keep up with the answer all of these mass filings.

The hopes in filing like this is to find mistakes by happenstance or to force global settlements based solely on the economics by the insurance companies.

Filing cases without reviewing them prior.

At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA we take painstaking pride in reviewing our lawsuits before filing them. What this does is ensures that we know exactly what the case is about prior to filing the suit.  When an insurance company comes to us asking what the case is about, we can tell them directly without blinking an eye. This allows for hopefully quicker resolution of the files then when you have to wait for the end of discovery to find out what the case is about.

It also allows the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to find issues within certain insurance providers and then relay that information to our clients to inform them about what is going on in the industry. If you are just “blind filing” you cannot as easily pick up on these intricacies.

What is a sham pleading?

A pleading that is relevant but is based on asserted false allegations of fact is a sham pleading and subject to being struck by a motion to strike. The procedure, however, for filing the motion is different. Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.150. The motion to strike (a) must be verified, (b) “shall set forth fully the facts on which the movant relies, and (c) may be supported by affidavit. The movant can request that the entire pleading, or only a part thereof, be stuck. The rule requires that it be filed “before the cause is set for trial.” The court must hear the motion and even may take evidence of the respective parties.

  • Example1: Filing on a case where you know the bills have been paid correctly.
  • Example 2: Filing after the statute of limitations has run for a PIP suit (5 years).
  • Example 3: Filing on a case where the person was not seen within 14 days of the accident.

Effect of filing sham pleadings on PIP Litigation.

There are many consequences to filing cases that should not have been filed.

  1. Puts a big strain on the courts- The court system is already slow. It can take months to get hearings scheduled in a normal system. If hundreds and thousands of sham pleadings are being filed and need to be set for dismissal that takes up valuable space on a calendar that could be for your cases of merit.
  2. Uses adjusters and counsels time. A lot of my discussions with adjusters talk about their workload. How they cannot get to everything they have. When they can’t get to the meritorious cases that mean the case stays open and unresolved.
  3. The insurance company could have a negative image of your medical office. When these cases are filed they are under your businesses names. This business has a lot of human elements and people’s perception of your office can go a long way into settling and resolving cases. If your office goes from having a good reputation to a bad one, it could amount to a lot more litigation time for your files.
  4. It economically can effect resolutions of cases. Sometimes cases in PIP settle for business decisions. If all that money is going out to pay for mass filings to go away, there may not be any left to pay your claim and they could choose to more heavily litigate the cases.

Filing past the Statute of Limitations.

In my opinion, there is a hard line at 5 years for the statute of limitations on a PIP case. That statute of limitations can be extended under certain circumstances however it would be very rare. In my opinion, if they are filed in mass and without reviewing them they are more likely to be sham pleadings than the exception to the Statute of Limitations.

Making promises on the outcome of cases.

It is unethical for a lawyer in Florida to guarantee the outcome of a particular case. If an attorney or representative is making promises to you or your coworkers saying, “give me that one file and I will get your money on it” that may not be the most ethical form of advertising.

There is nothing wrong however with telling your client that you will do everything ethical you can do within your power to make sure that the case is litigated to its maximum. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA the only promises we make are to do the right thing and work hard for our clients on the files they trust us with.

How to do it right.

At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA we take a multiple step approach to handling Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) cases.

  1. We timely send demand letters to the correct insurance companies.
  2. We review each demand letter response or lack thereof before filing the case to make sure that to the best of our abilities we know what each case is about.
  3. Diligently litigate each file through summary judgment or trial (if necessary).
  4. Work professionally with opposing counsel and adjusters to resolve cases as quickly as possible.
  5. Keep good communication with our clients, including but not limited to, returning phone calls and emails timely.
  6. Hand delivers any settlement or judgment checks to our clients.
  7. Keep our clients up to date on changes in the case law.

How doing it right can affect your practice and reputation.

Hopefully by being aligned with allowing Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA to handle your cases the insurance companies should know that we do things correctly, ethically and professionally. These three things should be then passed on to your name as we represent you. They then hopefully begin to see that you do things professionally, ethically and correctly as well. In turn, they could stop doing so many independent medical examinations of your clients or denying manual therapy codes. I have talked to clients who have told me directly that they don’t get denied for certain codes anymore after using Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Those are the types of results that we strive for here at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA.

What to do if you believe the firm handling your files are filing sham pleadings.

If you believe that this is occurring, I would confront the person handling the files and ask for an explanation. If you are not satisfied by the explanation reach out to a trusted PIP attorney such as myself (Derek Bernstein Esq.) by phone at 727-222-6922 or by email at [email protected]to answer any questions you have.