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By Wayne Hogan and Leslie Goller

When the Florida legis­lature amended the PIP car insurance law, it violated the Florida Constitution’s access to courts guarantee, so a circuit court judge issued an injunction against sections “which require a finding of an ‘Emergency Medical Condition’ as a prereq­uisite for payment of PIP benefits or that prohibit payments for services provided by acupunc­turists, chiro­practors, and massage thera­pists.”  The judge’s decision protected the rights of people injured in car accidents.

On October 23, an appeals court ruled that chiro­practors and massage thera­pists who challenged the law were not the right people to bring the case. The court held: “The real parties in interest—injured motorists whose ability to sue tortfeasors has been imper­mis­sibly limited—are absent from this case.”  That may mean a case brought by a car accident victim whose rights were restricted by the new PIP law could success­fully challenge it in court.

The appeals court also said, “[T]here is no apparent reason why Floridians whose access-to-courts rights are infringed by the 2012 PIP Act cannot bring their own consti­tu­tional challenge.”

We predict this will happen soon.  In the meantime, insurance companies will try to take advantage of the PIP insurance changes, so if a person gets into an accident they need to get prompt attorney advice on the right steps to take to protect their rights.

For the full opinion click here.