House leaders support PIP compromise
The Times/Herald is hearing that House leaders are encouraging members to approve a compromise proposal on PIP reform that was introduced Friday morning. If the House passes the amendment and the Senate concurs, the Legislature will be handing Gov. Rick Scott a huge victory on the last day of session.
Scott leaned hard on senators Thursday, encouraging them to embrace PIP reforms that more closely mirror the House's plan. But the new proposal requires both chambers to concede on some hot button issues, such as attorney fee caps and examinations under oath.
Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, and the House's lead on PIP, is sponsoring the amendment to HB 119. The proposal takes up the Senate's position of giving people 14 days to seek medical treatment after being injured in a car accident. The House's version currently has only a seven-day window.
Boyd's amendment also allows chiropractors to perform both initial and follow-up care under the no-fault auto insurance system. That provision is already in the Senate’s version of personal injury protection reform, but the House approved legislation that omits chiropractors all together.
The amendment filed Friday morning also removes hard caps on attorney fees but still prohibits judges from using multipliers to increase fees awarded in complicated cases. The Senate’s proposal neither caps fees nor prohibits the use of multipliers.
Perhaps the most controversial provision is the Boyd amendment would allow insurance companies to examine policyholders under oath when investigating possible fraud. The Senate did not approve such language and has questioned the need for examinations under oath.
The Senate’s PIP lead, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said Thursday night that he was meeting with House leaders and hoped to reach middle ground.
“I think we’re all willing to try to negotiate in good faith to get something done,” he said. “I think we’re pretty close.”
Will the chambers agree to this compromise and hand Scott a victory on the final day of session? Stay tuned!