March 21, 2013 — In Tallahassee, Fla., Circuit Judge Terry Lewis has ruled that the part of Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law that prevents payments to chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists violates provisions in the Florida Constitution.
As originally drafted, Florida’s PIP law was intended to curtail fraud and abuse, which was particularly rampant in the southern part of the state. However, the amendments to the law, passed as HB 119 in 2012, virtually eliminated payments to DCs, APs, and LMTs, and limited medical benefits to $2,500. In his ruling, issued on March 15, 2013, Lewis found that the PIP reforms went too far, limiting “the fundamental right to seek redress for injuries received at the hands of another,” and “severely limits” what an injured party can recover.
Despite this ruling, Michael Carlson of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, which lobbies on behalf of several large insurers, called the ruling was “a setback,” and Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation plans to file an appeal. Because an appeal would serve to place a hold on Lewis’s injunction, Florida DCs are advised to continue operating under the assumption that PIP reform were still fully in effect.
The plaintiffs who filed the motion for injunction were Robin A. Myers, AP; Gregory S. Zwirn, DC; Sherry L. Smith, LMT; and Carrie S. Damaska, LMT.
Source: Chiropractic Economics staff report.