Thursday, May 24, 2018
Business

Injured car accident victims would be forced to emergency rooms under lawmaker proposal

TALLAHASSEE — With the support of Gov. Rick Scott, a plan requiring that all victims injured in auto accidents be treated in emergency rooms continues to gain steam.

The proposed reform to the state's no-fault auto insurance program has already been approved by two House committees and has the backing of the insurance and business industries. During a Wednesday news conference that sometimes resembled a pep rally, Scott encouraged Florida citizens to continue to put pressure on legislators.

"You're tired of scammers taking advantage of you," the governor said. "You're tired of attorneys taking advantage of you. One billion dollars a year. We need to change this."

The news conference was hosted by a coalition of groups that support personal injury protection, or PIP, reform. Several of the roughly 100 people who crowded around to listen to the governor held signs supporting HB 119 and chanted, "Put the brakes on fraud."

The legislation requires people to seek treatment at a hospital within 72 hours of an accident, caps attorneys fees and strikes chiropractors and massage therapists from the list of medical professionals who can perform follow-up care.

The state requires drivers to carry $10,000 of PIP insurance, which helps pay for their medical care and lost wages if they are injured in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. In recent years, fraudulent claims and staged accidents have caused car insurance rates to skyrocket.

But the House proposal isn't the only one that legislators have to choose from.

Another measure backed by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, does not cap attorneys fees but requires long-form accident reports and additional licensing for clinics. It also would create a statewide anti-fraud task force.

The Senate legislation has the support of attorneys, chiropractors and citizens groups. They say the House's emergency room requirement limits patient choice and does nothing to eliminate actual fraud.

Tia Mitchell can be reached at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
At Pinellas Parkís iconic model train store, an ownership change goes off the rails

At Pinellas Parkís iconic model train store, an ownership change goes off the rails

PINELLAS PARK ó The iconic model train store that has sat at U.S. 19 and Haines Road for close to 30 years announced on its website it will be moving to another location."Itís difficult trying to stock a store thatís bigger than the reality is these ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

Denis Phillips, hurricane season guru, talks his signature beer, suspenders and Rule #7

SAFETY HARBOR ó Denis Phillips cracks a pop-top and pulls a can that looks a lot like him to his lips."Itís got that citrusy feel to it," he says. "Which is a Florida thing. Thatís not bad." Indeed, thereís a grapefruit finish to Rule #7 Hurricane Sa...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA ó Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didnít start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Riverview

RIVERVIEW ó Sprouts Farmers Market is opening a new location in Riverview, the chain announced Thursday. The new store will be located at Summerfield Crossing Shopping Center, though Sprouts did not have a specific opening date.The announcement comes...
Published: 05/24/18
Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

Tampa Electric to shut down Big Bend coal unit that killed 5

APOLLO BEACH ó Tampa Electric Co. is taking a big step away from coal. The Tampa-based utility is spending $853 million to convert its coal-fired Unit 1 at its Big Bend Power Station to natural gas and retire coal-fired Unit 2 in 2021.Five workers di...
Published: 05/24/18
Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmonís was a meeting place

Hooper: More than a restaurant, Lee Roy Selmonís was a meeting place

Itís where former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Doug Williams had lunch with current Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.Itís where University of South Florida fans often gathered to watch the programís biggest road games.Itís where folks showed up in...
Published: 05/24/18
An Amazon Echo recorded a familyís conversation, then sent it to a random person in their contacts, report says

An Amazon Echo recorded a familyís conversation, then sent it to a random person in their contacts, report says

A family in Portland, Oregon, received a nightmarish phone call two weeks ago."Unplug your Alexa devices right now," a voice on the other line said. "Youíre being hacked."Apparently, one of Amazon.comís Alexa-powered Echo devices in their house had s...
Published: 05/24/18
As home sale prices rise, a lack of homes makes it tough on buyers

As home sale prices rise, a lack of homes makes it tough on buyers

Home sale prices continued to rise both nationally and statewide in April as a prolonged dearth of available homes on the market is making it tough on buyers. A total of 24,804 single-family homes changed hands across Florida last month, up 4.1 perce...
Published: 05/24/18
Brink: A 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a rotten idea for Florida

Brink: A 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a rotten idea for Florida

No matter your politics, the proposed 25-cent hike in the federal gas tax is a lousy idea.Itís regressive, burdening the poor and working class more than the rich.Federal interference with state transportation projects can raise costs, layer on regul...
Published: 05/24/18
Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Tutor looks to empower athletes in Wesley Chapel

Rashay Hudson operates a tutoring business in Wesley Chapel, and NaDorian Hudson has played basketball his entire life, including in college and the ABA. Now, the husband and wife duo are combining their areas of expertise with a new program for kids...
Published: 05/24/18