Doug / 03-24-2011 / Auto Accidents

Lawmakers Call for Personal Injury Protection Reform

According to Tampa Bay and St Petersburg Times, two Florida lawmakers are proposing a bill to help curb staged auto accidents and personal injury claims. Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff and Rep. Jim Boyd are proposing SB 1930 and HB 1411, claiming that staged accidents cost the state billions of dollars in fraudulent insurance payouts by abusing the state mandated no-fault insurance, called personal injury protection. In 2009-2010, the Division of Insurance Fraud received more than 5,5000 complaints of PIP-related fraud.

Personal injury protection or PIP costs the average driver $100 to $200 a year and has a coverage that pays $10,000 for accident injuries. PIP pays medical bills for policy holders regardless of which driver is at fault and is intended to help protect Floridians that do not have health insurance.

According to the lawmakers, people are abusing PIP with exaggerated injuries or staged accidents to help inflate claims. Higher claim payouts hurt and drive up auto insurance rates for Floridians. The new proposal would, among other things, require police reports include all of the names and addresses of passengers involved in a vehicle crash to prevent people who were not in the vehicles submitting claims later on that they were hurt. Auto insurance rates have increased in recent years despite previous attempts to address PIP fraud. In a 2007 legislative session, then-House Speaker Marco Rubio compromised on a PIP-fraud bill that limited prices some medical facilities and healthcare professionals can charge insurers for non emergency care. The bill required PIP clinics be owned or overseen by licensed doctors.

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