PCI ‘Pleased’ After Motion to Rehear Florida Ruling Rejected

Law schoolA national trade organization said it was “pleased” with a Florida court’s decision to dismiss a motion that sought reconsideration of an October court ruling that preserved major reforms to the state’s personal injury protection (PIP) car insurance system.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) said that the Monday order to reject the motion gives time for those reforms, contained in a 2012 law called HB 119, to fully roll out.

“We are cautiously optimistic that once these reforms are fully implemented and have been given time to work … Florida consumers may be provided with much needed relief once and for all,” the nationwide insurance trade group said in a statement.

A coalition of physicians and citizens groups filed the rehearing motion with the First District Court of Appeal on Nov. 7, asking the court to reconsider an October ruling that went against them.

Last year, lawmakers passed a legislative package that overhauled the PIP car insurance system with tighter benefit and treatment restrictions. Reform supporters cited the need to beat back spikes in Florida car insurance, especially in fraud hotbeds like Miami-Dade County.

According to PCI, HB 119’s reforms need time to yield a substantive impact on PIP-related crime that it blamed for a “$1 billion fraud tax on Florida consumers” and making the state the highest in the U.S. for questionable auto claims.

The reforms included cutting off PIP-related benefits that chiropractors and similar physicians received to treat drivers injured in crashes. Groups of those physicians brought the reform law to court in a lawsuit where, as plaintiffs, they challenged its constitutionality.

Some of those physicians groups again claimed discrimination from the reforms at a November committee meeting of state senators, some of whom supported HB 119 and are currently in discussions about reforms that could eliminate the entire PIP system.

At the meeting, the Florida Justice Association (FJA) told senators to expect more constitutional challenges, this time coming from injured drivers. The FJA posted a call for cases on PIP constitutionality on Oct. 24, a day after the appeals court decision was released.

The court said in its ruling that the plaintiffs bringing the lawsuit were not the “real parties in interest.” The real parties, it said, were “injured motorists whose ability to sue tortfeasors has been impermissibly limited” by HB 119.

According to the FJA’s post on Oct. 24, the Oct. 23 ruling “implied that an injured person with a liability claim and a nonpermanent injury could bring a constitutional challenge based on a violation of the constitutional right of access to the courts.”

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

No comments yet.

Comment on this article