THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2013
A 2012 law aimed at reducing fraud and lowering no-fault auto insurance claims has been reinstated, at least for now, by an appellate court ruling overturning a lower court decision to grant a temporary injunction against the law.
The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that a group of chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists lacked standing to bring the case. "Because Appellees made no colorable showing of standing to proceed on the access-to-courts claim, we reverse the order granting injunctive relief," the ruling from the three-judge panel states.
The plaintiffs brought the case to prevent the implementation of HB 119, which capped personal injury protection coverage at $2,500 for non-emergency care and required patients to seek care within 14 days of an accident. The total cap on PIP coverage of $10,000 remained in place, but the law prohibited massage therapists and acupuncturists from receiving PIP claims.
Critics said the law would prevent victims of car accidents from getting the medical care they need, especially in cases where latent injuries show up more than two weeks after a crash.
Auto insurers, who pointed to legal challenges to the law when some lawmakers criticized them for not implementing the rate reductions expected by the law, have held off filing new rates with regulators as they awaited the outcome from the courts.
"Barring further legal interference by the cottage industry of providers and their trial lawyer allies, who value dollars more than consumers, Floridians should soon begin to benefit from this good law," said Michael Carlson, executive director of Personal Insurance Federation of Florida.
Article by Gray Rohrer
Specialty Insurance Agents, Inc.