Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fla. appeals court lifts temporary ban on auto law

TALLAHASSEE — A Florida appeals court on Wednesday cleared the way for the enforcement of a controversial auto insurance law that backers say was designed to curb fraudulent claims.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Tallahassee Circuit Judge Terry Lewis was wrong when he sided with physical therapists and other health care providers challenging the 2012 law.

In March, Lewis ruled that modifications to some of the key provisions of Florida's no-fault auto insurance law were possibly unconstitutional, and he ordered a temporary ban on those provisions.

Lewis suspended the part of the law that requires a finding of emergency medical condition and prohibits payments to acupuncturists, massage therapists and chiropractors. He said the law violates the right of access to the courts found in the Florida Constitution.

But the appeals court contended that those seeking to block enforcement of the law had not shown they were actually being harmed by it.

"Without showing of an actual denial of access to courts … the provider plaintiffs lack standing to assert this claim," states the unsigned opinion.

The ruling, however, does not end the ongoing lawsuit challenging the new law.

Florida legislators passed the state's no-fault insurance law — also known as personal injury protection — in the early 1970s to ensure that anyone hurt in an automobile wreck could obtain medical treatment without delay, while waiting for a case to be resolved.

The law provides that a driver's insurance company pay up to $10,000 to cover medical bills and lost wages after an accident, no matter who's at fault. All Florida drivers are required to carry PIP insurance.

Over the years, however, authorities have voiced concern that Florida has become a leading state for staged accidents, especially in the Tampa and Miami-Dade metropolitan areas, by those intent on filing bogus PIP claims.

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott made an overhaul bill (HB 119) a cornerstone of his legislative agenda, saying it would help tamp down millions of dollars in PIP fraud. Acupuncture practitioners, massage therapists and chiropractors — angry at being cut out of PIP payments — eventually filed suit.

The changes also limited coverage for medical treatment to $2,500 if an injured person could not show an emergency medical condition.

A trade organization that represents insurers praised the decision by the appeals court. Insurers have contended the changes in the law will save drivers money, although some legislators have complained that savings have not materialized.

Some GOP legislators have argued that it may be time to scrap the no-fault law and replace it with a different type of auto insurance.

Fla. appeals court lifts temporary ban on auto law 10/23/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Odessa teacher arrested on theft charges after deputies say she stole from fellow teacher

    Crime

    A Odessa elementary school teacher is facing theft charges after Hillsborough County deputies said she swiped money and a credit card from another teacher on the playground.

    Sylvia Clark, 58, a teacher at Hammond Elementary School in Odessa, faces charges after Hillsborough County deputies say she took money from a fellow teacher and used a stolen credit card. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Cubs, trying to get even with Joe Maddon

    Blogs

    After a tough 2-1 loss on Tuesday, the Rays take on the Cubs again tonight, looking to split the two-game series with former manager Joe Maddon.

    The Rays are starting young LHP Blake Snell, and the Cubs are starting veteran LHP Jon Lester.

    Here is the Rays lineup:

    Kiermaier cf,

  3. Mexicans dig through collapsed buildings as quake kills 225 (w/video)

    World

    MEXICO CITY — Rescuers found a surviving child on Wednesday in the ruins of a school that collapsed in Mexico's magnitude 7.1 earthquake, one of many efforts across the city to try to save people trapped in debris under schools, homes and businesses toppled by the quake that killed at least 225 people.

    A man is rescued from a collapsed building in the Condesa neighborhood after an earthquake struck Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. The 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico, killing more than 100 people. [Associated Press]
  4. Hurricane Maria tears off roofs, triggers flooding in Puerto Rico

    Hurricanes

    we

    [National Hurricane Center]
  5. Construction starts on USF medical school, the first piece of Tampa's Water Street project

    Health

    TAMPA — Dozens of workers in hard hats and boots were busy at work at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive Wednesday morning, signaling the start of construction on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    A rendering shows what the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute will look like when completed in 2019. Local officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate as construction begins on the facility, the first piece of the Water Street redevelopment area in downtown Tampa. [Rendering courtesy of the USF Health]