Personal Injury Claims Increase in Florida

The Florida Bar estimates there are close to 80,000 attorneys practicing law in Florida. These attorneys have worked on a rising number of personal injury protection claims which have increased by 10,000 cases from 2007 to 2010, with the bulk of the personal injury claims occurring in the Orlando area.

Monday, Florida’s state insurance regulators released news that there has been a increase in the number of personal injury claims and payments, and last year Central Florida had the second highest claims rate increase in the state. Across the state of Florida, there has been an estimated increase of 56% since 2006.

Although Florida requires drivers to purchase personal injury protection ($10,000 in coverage) to pay for the medical bills of drivers who are involved in an auto accident (regardless of who is at-fault), many injured car accident victims also file a personal injury claims, and these claims have contributed to the increase in personal injury cases filed.

Personal injury protection laws were originally conceived to protect drivers who are hit by other drivers who are not insured and to reduce the cost of lawsuits, but there have been allegations of fraud and increased legislation by the Florida legislation to address some of the issues. Opponents of the personal injury protection coverage include lawmakers who claim that the current system is frequently abused, leading to higher cost for insurance companies and consumers.

Proponents of PIP coverage include doctors, hospitals and other health care providers who claim insurance companies would rather allow them to bear the cost of medical treatment. Health care providers also argue that insurance companies have mistakenly claimed that eliminating PIP coverage would lower costs for Florida drivers.

Personal Injury Protection coverage temporarily ended in Florida in 2007, but the Florida legislature eventually came to an agreement. Agreements were only reached after many closed-door negotiations with doctors, insurers, lawyers, and lobbyists. Governor Charlie Crist signed the Personal Injury Protection bill into on October 11, 2007 (House Bill 13C).

The new provisions, which became law effective January 1, 2008, requires Personal Injury Protection policies to pay 80% of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses up to the $10,000.00 policy limit. The legislation also created a new fee schedule for medical bills to limit doctor’s reimbursement to 200% of the Medicare rates and the emergency room doctors to 80% of their usual and customary charges.

Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida

Does personal injury protection make it impossible to file a personal injury claim for a Florida car accident? Florida drivers may be allowed to continue to file personal injury lawsuits if they are injured in a car accident if they meet certain strict requirements including:

• The injured party has suffered significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
• The injury, based on medical probability, will most likely leave permanent disfigurement.
• The injured party has significant scarring.
• The injured party has been killed in the car accident.

Why does Florida have a high rate of Car Accidents?

Florida’s diverse driving population seems to contribute to the state’s high car accident totals. Not only does Florida have a high rate of elderly drivers, there are also a high number of younger drivers. It appears the highest rate of accidents occurs for drivers who are ages 15-29 or 75-89.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been involved in a Florida car accident and you have severe and permanent injuries, contact a car accident lawyers. Although you may receive some compensation from a Personal Injury Protection policy, this policy may not cover the full extent of your losses.

Wage loss, high medical costs, permanent disabilities, each of these can lead to a financial crisis. Do not settle your car accident claim for less than it is worth. Contact a Florida personal injury lawyer in Florida for help after your Florida car accident.