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POSSIBLE SPECIAL SESSION FOR PIP REFORM

In a previous blog I addressed Circuit Judge Terry Lewis’s ruling that overturned the 2012 PIP reform the legislature put in place and similarly the State of Florida’s appeal of Judge Lewis’s ruling. Now it appears the legislature is holding their breathe on addressing the problems with their PIP reform until the appeals court rules.

In 2012 the State of Florida made deep changes to Florida’s no-fault auto insurance laws (also known as personal injury protection). Under the new PIP laws all accident victims must see a doctor within 14 days of the accident or they risk losing their PIP benefits. Further, only patients who are deemed to have an “emergency medical condition” would be able to receive the full $10,000 of covered care, otherwise their benefits are reduced to $2,500. These, and other limitations led to Judge Lewis holding that the new PIP bill was unconstitutional.

During this 2013 legislation session, Florida lawmakers have done a little to address the PIP issues. The Sun Sentinel reported that in response to Judge Lewis' ruling, Senator David Simmons drafted new legislation that would do away with PIP altogether and move to a mandatory bodily injury liability coverage system.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Senator Simmons met with Senate President Don Gaetz in order to address “solutions” as a contingency should the 1st District Court of Appeal agree with Judge Lewis’s ruling and find the 2012 PIP reform unconstitutional. In classic form, a spokeswoman for Senator Gaetz said “the Senate President doesn’t plan to take any action until the court issues a decision”.

Given that this legislative session will end before the Appellate courts even hear, yet alone, rule on the PIP reform issue the lawmakers are setting up the chance of a special session of the court rulings do not go their way.

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