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Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

Circuit Court Judge Grants Injunction against New Florida PIP Law

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, medical treatments, car accident claims…all of these have been affected by the new Florida PIP law (or No-Fault law) that went into effect January 1, 2013. Not too long after the new PIP law was enacted, Judge Terry Lewis, a circuit court judge from the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida, ordered a temporary injunction against the new PIP law on March 22, 2013. The plaintiffs, a group comprised of medical providers, filed a claim in the U.S. District Court (Myers, et al v. McCarty Case No. 8:12) on November 23, 2012, and with the Second Circuit (Myers v. McCarty Case No. 2013 CA 73). The plaintiffs argued that the new PIP law violated the Equal Protection Clause by singling out certain medical providers as opposed to other medical providers, thereby unfairly restricting the plaintiffs’ ability to make a living.  Judge Lewis found that the new PIP law violated Florida’s Constitution: the law prevented access to courts.

The decision to grant the temporary injunction, which came months after the U.S. District Court denied the injunction, rested on the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court in Lasky v. State Farm Insurance Co. 296 So.2d 9 (Fla. 1974).  The Florida Supreme Court upheld Florida’s No-Fault insurance law, stating that the No-Fault law was a good “trade off” to a purely tort system. The Court opined that under the new No-Fault insurance law,  individuals who sustained injuries in a car accident could gain access to benefits much more quickly than having to file a law suit. Thus, the “trade off” (of not filing a law suit so that one can access benefits quickly) was a “good deal.”  But, Judge Lewis questioned whether the new PIP law really is a “good deal.” According to Judge Lewis, the revisions to the law no longer make it a reasonable alternative to bringing a claim in court, which is contrary to the spirit of the Lasky case. Based on this reasoning, Judge Lewis granted the temporary injunction.

But, this is not likely the end of the story. The Office of Insurance Regulation, together with other prominent figures (such as Governor Rick Scott) plan to fight Judge Lewis’s order. An appeal seems forthcoming.

At the Yau Law Firm, we deal with every aspect concerning auto accidents.  Whether you need help figuring out what to do after an accident, or whether you can seek medical treatment without health insurance, we have answers to any questions you might have. Call us today, don’t delay! Remember, every injured person has exactly 14 days after the car accident to seek medical treatment, or else he or she is out of luck!

Article by: Florence Chen

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