Recently, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis issued a judicial opinion suspending portions of Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection scheme, stating that the law unconstitutionally deprives individuals of their liberties and property rights.
Specifically, Judge Lewis enjoined the enforcement of the law’s provisions that require a determination by a medical profession that a party injured in an auto accident has suffered an “emergency medical condition” for the injured person to avail himself of the full $10,000 benefit thereunder. Judge Lewis also blocked the law’s prohibition of PIP payments to acupuncturists, massage therapists and chiropractors.
As previously discussed, personal injury lawyer mississauga, Florida is one of twelve U.S. states that employs a “no fault” insurance scheme. Under Florida’s system, motorists involved in auto accidents are required to submit any claims for compensation to their own insurance company, regardless fault for the accident. Florida requires that motorists carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP which covers medical treatment and other economic damages that might arise from a motor vehicle accident up 80% of medical bills, 60% of lost wages, and a $5,000 death benefit.
Last month, this blog examined Florida’s new revisions to its PIP statute which now requires individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident to seek out medical treatment within fourteen days of an accident in an ambulance or hospital from a physician, osteopathic physician, chiropractic physician, or dentist. Further, the injured party must be deemed to have an “emergency medical condition” by one of the specified medical professionals to access the full $10,000 PIP benefit.
In partially granting a temporary injunction, Judge Lewis’s order stated, “[T]he fundamental right to seek redress for injuries received at the hands of another is a cornerstone of our legal system.” Judge Lewis further criticized legislative officials’ tinkering with these fundamental principles, opining that the PIP law is an example of socialism and a trend away from principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility.
Judge Lewis maintained that the revised no-fault law passes beyond the “outer limits of constitutional tolerance” by severely limiting what can be recovered by victims of auto accidents.
In response to Judge Lewis’s opinion, Florida Governor Rick Scott, the main proponent of the new PIP law, stated, “Our personal injury protection legislation was designed to stop the high costs passed on to Florida families by car insurance companies because of excessive lawsuits, waste and fraud.” Scott contended that, following the legislation, over 70% of insurance rates have decreased or held steady in comparison to a majority of rate increases before the law was passed.
Car accident lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA in Miami, Florida are monitoring how the new PIP laws are impacting auto, truck accident, and other motor vehicle accident cases. Nicholas Gerson, a Miami personal injury attorney with the law offices of Gerson and Schwartz, PA, says lawyers in Florida and the general public need to be aware how the new law effects accident claims in Florida. Those who oppose the new changes, believe it will make it more difficult for car accident victims to get insurance benefits they need. But, Gerson, adds, “ I also believe that reform on this issue was needed”. There’s too much insurance fraud out there and people taking advantage of the system”. Gerson adds, that now it is more important for Florida drivers to get as much coverage they can such as uninsured/underinsured insurance. You don’t want to get into an accident and have to pay for it out of your pocket if someone else is responsible.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car crash, auto, or motor vehicle accident, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. Your claim should be evaluated by an experienced Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident to preserve your right to compensation for your injuries, medical bills and other expenses.
The Miami, Florida car accident lawyers at Gerson and Schwartz, PA have extensive experience representing drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who have been injured by negligent drivers. If you or someone you know has been injured in an car crash, motorcycle accident, or were injured due to the negligence of another, contact the Miami, Florida personal injury law firm of Gerson and Schwartz, P.A. at www.injuryattornefla.com or call toll free 1-877-475-2905 for a free consultation.