A Florida judge has upheld his injunction to block portions of the state’s no-fault auto insurance law because it infringes on drivers’ access to the courts. Because of this, regulators are now appealing to an even higher court.
Judge Terry Lewis, a Second Circuit Court judge, has his decision in a case [Myers V. McCarty Case No. 2013 CA 73] that was filed on the behalf of chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists.
The massage therapist and acupuncturists claim the new law is a threat to their livelihood due to the fact that it excludes them from the list of PIP providers and it prevents them from receiving payments for treating injuries caused by car accidents.
Chiropractors also argued that the new law restricted payments, since the law put limits on coverage as drivers with “emergency injuries” are given $10,00 in coverage, while “non-emergency injuries” only receive $2,500 in coverage.
Lewis said, in his initial ruling, that the restrictions in coverage no longer made PIP a “reasonable alternative” to a tort system.
Lewis said that after reviewing the new laws he is still sensitive to the medical providers’ concerns; however, the injunction is foremost to protect individuals’ rights to access the courts.
Lewis stated, “The reason for issuing the injunction was to protect the constitutional right and prevent the potential harm to citizens injured in auto accidents who, under the present PIP statute, may not receive necessary medical care.”
Lewis is also quoted in saying, “equities tip in favor of allowing the temporary injunction to remain in effect.”
The Florida counsel for state relations for Property Insures Associations, Donovan Brown, said that the association is disappointed in the ruling and what it means for the PIP law.
Brown said, “Florida consumers deserve the full benefit of the 2012 reforms,” and “This ruling gives way to the fraud and abuse those reforms were designed to eliminate.”
The Office of Insurance Regulation filed a motion with Florida’s First District Court of Appeal seeking an immediate review of the injunction.
The Office of Insurance Regulation’s motion is to question the validity of Lewis’ injunction; however, is not a response to the issues raised in Myers V. McCarty.
If you would like to read more about Florida’s Injunction on their PIP law, Click Here.