INJURY AND INSURANCE CLAIMS ATTORNEYS

INSURANCE LITIGATION PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION ACCIDENT - INJURY CASES HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE
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Report: Miami-Dade lawyers cause headaches for Citizens Property Insurance

Aggressive lawyers in Miami-Dade say the only way many Citizens’ policyholders can get claims paid is to take the company to court, and a new report shows the aggressive tactics are responsible for a surge in lawsuits

Mary Ellen Klas

Citizens Property Insurance spent $100 million in the past two years in legal fees and says its legal bills are rising because a handful of aggressive South Florida law firms — most in Miami-Dade County — have targeted the insurance giant with water-damage claims in a hurricane-free year.

According to a report the insurer released Monday, while Miami-Dade residents have 19 percent of all Citizens policies in force, the county “accounts for 33 percent of all reported claims and 60 percent of all litigated claims statewide,” with the bulk of those claims coming from water-damage losses.

In addition, 84 percent of all claims in the past five years have originated in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the report said. Ten law firms are responsible for 50 percent of the lawsuits against the company and 60 percent of those suits come from Miami-Dade.


(PalmBeachPost.com) Honk now if you want to kill Florida’s costly no-fault car insurance. By Charles Elmore


After more than 40 years, Florida’s no-fault car insurance system would end by 2019 under a bill filed by state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. “The system is broken and rife with fraud and abuse,” Brandes said. “There is no amount of tweaking that will fix PIP. Florida can do better, and this repeal will force policymakers to address this important issue impacting every driver in our state.” (...) Click here for full article

(Dec. 21st, 2015) TALLAHASSEE - The state's personal-injury protection auto insurance system, known as "no-fault," would end in 2019 under proposals ready to go before lawmakers.

Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, filed a proposal (HB 997) last week, two months after Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty tossed out the idea of, "Let's just repeal PIP and do nothing," as a way to further reduce fraud in the personal-injury protection system.The repeal idea also appears to have backing from state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Atwater, who along with Gov. Rick Scott championed 2012 changes intended to fight fraud in the no-fault system, had maintained as recently as October that time was needed to see the impact of the legislative changes. On Monday, a spokeswoman for Atwater said that the "time has now passed." "Ultimately, it's a policy decision for the Legislature to make, but two years after the passage of the PIP legislation, it's time for the insurance industry to bring forward evidence that shows whether or not rates are going to come down," Atwater spokeswoman Ashley Carr said in an email. "If consumers aren't going to get the relief the legislation intended, then the time to repeal has arrived."Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed the Senate version (SB 1112) of Hager's proposal on Dec. 11. The identical measures would require motorists to have a minimum of property-damage and bodily-injury liability coverage. Under the decades-old no-fault system, intended to make insurance claims less adversarial than lawsuits, motorists are required to carry personal-injury protection coverage that includes $10,000 in medical benefits. However, questions have grown over the limits of $10,000 in medical coverage, while efforts to remove fraud from the no-fault system have resulted in more coverage restrictions.With lawmakers estimating that the average Florida motorist was paying $180 a year for the personal-injury protection portion of their auto coverage, a 2012 law set benchmarks for insurers to lower rates on the coverage. The law also required people involved in crashes to seek treatment within 14 days and allowed up to $10,000 in benefits for emergency medical conditions, while putting a $2,500 cap on non-emergency conditions.

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Read more here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/consumer/os-nsf-florida-pip-auto-insurance-20151221-story.html



FLORIDA ADVOCATES sponsors fundraiser for 

Neighbors 4 Neighbors - "Singing with the Stars" at 

Hard Rock Cafe (June 19th, 2015)






LATEST NEWS FROM TALLAHASSEE

February 24th, 2015



CURRENT LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS AFFECTING PIP PROVIDERS:

1)      HB 669RUSSEL LAZEGA'S ASSESSMENT:  HORRIBLE FOR PIP PROVIDERS.  WOULD EFFECTIVELY BAR YOU FROM BEING ABLE TO CHALLENGE PIP INSURER DENIALS AND REDUCTIONS BY MAKING THE INSURANCE COMPANY EFFECTIVELY IMMUNE FROM HAVING TO PAY ATTORNEY’S FEES TO YOU IF THEY LOSE.  WOULD MEAN THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO RELY ON PATIENT TO PAY THE BILL AND COLLECT FROM THEIR OWN INSURER OR PAY YOUR OWN LAWYER OUT OF POCKET.   HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO VOICE OPPOSITION AS A PRIORITY.

General Bill   by Tobia

Insurance Claims by Third Parties: Provides for assignment of post-loss benefits; prohibits award of attorney fees in certain suits brought by third party to insurance contract.

2)      CS/HB 165RUSS LAZEGA'S ASSESSMENT – RELATIVELY NEUTRAL TO PIP PROVIDERS

General Bill   by Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and Santiago

Property and Casualty Insurance: Revises provisions for making & use of rates for motor vehicle insurance; increases amount of prior notice required with respect to nonrenewal, cancellation, or termination of certain insurance policies; deletes certain provisions that require extended periods of prior notice with respect to nonrenewal, cancellation, or termination of certain insurance policies; prohibits cancellation of certain policies; provides that policy or contract may not be cancelled based on certain credit information; authorizes policyholder of personal lines insurance to affirmatively elect delivery of policy documents by electronic means; revises notification requirements for participation in neutral evaluation program; revises time period for applicability of certain Medicare fee schedules or payment limitations; revises preinsurance inspection requirements for private passenger motor vehicles.

3)      HB 803RUSSEL LAZEGA'S ASSESSMENT – DRAMATIC EFFECT ON PIP PROVIDERS

General Bill   by Trujillo

Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance: Revises legislative intent with respect to financial responsibility for damages caused by operation of motor vehicle; increases financial responsibility limits with respect to bodily injury or death; revises required threshold limit for self-insurers; repeals Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law; provides for termination of personal injury protection policies; requires maintaining minimum security requirements allowing person to respond to property damage & bodily injury by certain date; requires insurer to notify insured about such changes by certain date; provides for applicability of suspensions for failure to maintain security; conforms provisions.

 

4)      There has also been some discussion of proposing to eliminate the requirement to carry PIP insurance for people that prove that they have health insurance.  Will keep you posted as this develops.



 

FLORIDA'S NEW PIP LAW EXPLAINED

Click Here for Free Video Seminar on 2012 PIP Law



SUPREME COURT DECIDES FEE SCHEDULE REDUCTION CASE

 
By RUSSEL LAZEGA
 
THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA on July 5, 21013 ruled that PIP insurers may not apply the 2008 PIP medical fee schedule to reduce medical provider bills unless the insurance policy specifically indicated that this payment methodology would be used.  What this means for Florida hospitals and medical providers is that medical providers may be able to go back as far as 2008 and recoup these reductions from the insurers.
 
Click here for link to court decision
 

SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST INSURER IN PIP DISPUTE

By JIM SAUNDERS
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, June 27, 2013.........In a blow to the insurance industry, a divided Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that Geico could not require a woman to give a statement under oath as a condition of receiving injury benefits after an auto accident.

Click for Link to Full Article 

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/nsf-pip-dispute-supreme-court-20130627,0,3627647.story


Click for Link to Opinion (Supreme Court Cites Russel Lazega as Authoritative Source on P.I.P.)




  



   

  

MORE TALKS OF SCRAPPING PIP FOR MANDATORY BI

 Click here for link to articles
http://www.saintpetersblog.com/florida-senate-moving-again-to-scrap-no-fault-coverage
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/gov-scott-defends-car-insurance-overhaul-but-does-/nWzmB/

 APPEALS COURT OVERTURNS INJUNCTION ON NEW PIP LAW 

The Florida 1st District Court of Appeal has overturned an injunction issued by Tallahassee Judge Terry Lewis which had barred the Department of FInancial Services from enforcing parts of the new PIP law.  The appeals court found that the massage therapists and acupuncturists who brought the challenge lacked any legal standing or right to bring the claim because they were not the injured accident victim and therefore did not suffer direct injury as a result of the law.  The decision clearly leaves open the possibility of future challenges to the law law by accident victims as well as possible appeal to the Supreme Court.  We'll keep watching as the battle has just started.
Click Below for Link to Articles
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/appeals-court-rebuffs-challenge-of-floridas-new-pi/nbXKp/
http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013/10/24/florida-appeals-court-upholds-pip-reform-law
Article on Original Injunction
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/ap/ap/automotive/judge-orders-temporary-ban-on-part-of-fla-pip-law/nWyh2/

SENATE CONSIDERS PLAN TO REPLACE PIP WITH MANDATORY BI

Click Below for Link to Article
http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=377961&type=newswires_

David Bierman featured interview on
CNN/Comcast Newsmakers regarding
 homeowner's insurance laws.
Russel Lazega featured interview with
Kelly Craig on Channel 6 news regarding
homeowner's insurance issues.


 


 

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