Attorney Says Auto Insurance Changes Will Be Costly

By: Andy Alcock
By: Andy Alcock
A prominent attorney says changes to Florida

Photo: Patrick Lightcap

The idea is to save you money.

But one prominent attorney believes changes to a key Florida insurance law will prove costly for everyone in the state.

If you have an accident and are injured, Florida is one of only ten states with personal injury protection or PIP auto insurance.

Under the system, no matter who's at fault, your insurance covers your injuries.

The idea is to reduce payment delays for injured drivers and limit use of the court system.

"You got to get rid of PIP," said attorney John Morgan. "There's so much abuse with PIP in the state of Florida," he said.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation backs up Morgan's claim.

According to the agency's website, the National Insurance Crime Bureau lists Florida as having several cities reporting the highest amount of questionable claims nationally.

Additionally, while PIP represents roughly two percent of Florida's collected insurance premium, PIP accounts for nearly half of fraud referrals.

To address this issue, state lawmakers passed a law requiring a first medical treatment or evaluation within 14 days.

The change to the law also reduced coverage for injured motorists.

That change is being challenged in federal court.

"Instead of reducing litigation, reducing legal bills, it's going to increase it," said Morgan. "Bad bill by people who really didn't understand it," he said.

Although Morgan opposes the changes to the PIP law and PIP in general, he says Florida drivers, who by law must have PIP, will pay higher premiums while lawyers like himself clean up on more court challenges.

"We're going to be crying about it in about five years, but in the meantime, we will have made millions and millions and millions of dollars in legal fees," Morgan said.

Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation, with the help of the attorney general, is supporing the PIP law changes in court.

Several attempts to contact lawmakers who supported the changes were unsuccessful.

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