Proposed Bill to Repeal -- and Replace -- Florida’s No-Fault Insurance is a Sound, and Overdue, Idea, Says Insurance Lawyer Patrick J. Tighe

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Personal insurance protection is a good idea gone bad, with rampant fraud that hurts consumers and automobile accident victims, says attorney Tighe of But a recently introduced bill in Florida’s House of Representatives would provide a far better solution.

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The time to end this abuse has come. What this legislation does is put Florida in line with 48 other states -- and make sure that consumers are protected in a way that isn’t open to misuse, and actually works.

Florida’s no-fault motor vehicle insurance -- commonly known as personal injury protection (PIP) -- has come under fire, and for good reason: The $10,000 in mandatory coverage, intended to pay for the immediate medical needs of automobile accident victims, has proven a gateway to fraud. Too often, says Florida insurance lawyer Patrick J. Tighe, payments line the pockets of dubious providers performing questionable treatments, instead of paying for legitimate medical care. So when the money is truly needed, in many cases it is gone. A new bill now pending in the Florida House of Representatives -- HB 1007, introduced by Rep. Mike Horner in December -- aims to change that. And according to Tighe, it is a change long overdue.

“What Representative Horner’s bill does is replace the existing PIP insurance -- which has been a textbook example of a good idea gone bad -- with a vastly improved system that would pay for emergency medical coverage by a more limited array of providers. Instead of paying non-physician owned clinics and even message therapists for questionable services -- something that happens all the time under today’s PIP system -- payments would be limited to hospitals, emergency rooms, and physicians’ offices. This is a far wiser policy and will make sure that insurance coverage goes where it is most needed: to consumers who have been injured in automobile accidents and need immediate, legitimate treatment.”

Under Horner’s proposal, Florida motorists would be required to carry $10,000 in emergency medical coverage, as well as additional bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. Property damage coverage of $10,000 would also be required.

“No-fault was an idea that was put into law in the early 70s and in the 35 years since, people have figured out how to commit fraud, on an enormous scale, via this insurance benefit,” says Tighe, who has been assisting Florida residents in insurance lawsuits and other claims for more than a decade. “The time to end this abuse has come. What this legislation does is put Florida in line with 48 other states -- and make sure that consumers are protected in a way that isn’t open to misuse, and actually works.”

In recent months, criticisms of Florida’s existing PIP system have increased dramatically. More lawmakers are expected to propose legislation to abolish or greatly modify PIP, and a recent report by the Florida Consumer Action Network argued that much of the PIP data regulators and lawmakers relied on was faulty and unreliable.

“What the FCAN report revealed was that even the insurance regulators can’t get a handle on how PIP is working -- or perhaps more accurately, how it is not working,” says Tighe. “If we can end fraud and save consumers money in one fell swoop, by all means, we should do it.”

About X1LAW
For over a decade, Florida personal injury and insurance lawyer Patrick J. Tighe has been protecting the rights of consumers, and those who have suffered catastrophic injury in automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other life-changing events. In that time, he has represented -- and come through for -- thousands of individuals in insurance claims that were wrongly denied, delayed, or undervalued. Earlier in his career, Tighe spent nearly ten years working on ‘the other side,’ defending insurers in injury lawsuits. That experience gave him invaluable insight on how big insurers approach and handle insurance claim cases -- insight that is leveraged every day to bring results, and justice, for clients.

Patrick J. Tighe
(561) 537 5059


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