April 20, 2017
Florida House Bill 1063, and corresponding Senate Bill 1766, seek to eliminate the $10,000 of required personal injury protection coverage (PIP, also known as no-fault) in 2018 while mandating motorists get at least $25,000 in liability coverage for bodily injury or death and $50,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people. The majority of states in this country require drivers to purchase bodily injury liability coverage, but Florida does not. Unfortunately, we often tell car accident victims that the person who caused their accident does not have insurance to compensate them for their injuries.
Vehicles can cause serious damage when an accident occurs, and Florida residents should be required to carry coverage that compensates others when they are at fault. Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives Erin Grall, driving the proposed bill in the house said, “the goal of the bill is to put meaningful insurance in place and bring accountability to the system — and put responsibility where it lies, and that’s with the at-fault driver.”
Erin Grall also emphasized that nearly 95 percent of drivers who have adequate auto insurance will save money on premiums. A study conducted in September 2016 for the Office of Insurance Regulation suggested that repeal of the required PIP coverage could save $81 per car. Ms. Grall noted that the population that cuts corners by not paying for bodily injury liability coverage would be facing any insurance rate increases.
The current system also requires victims to demonstrate that they have sustained a permanent injury to recover compensation for pain and suffering. That threshold can be difficult for victims to overcome when they have suffered painful, lingering injuries but do not have enough objective evidence of their permanent injury. Repealing PIP would eliminate the overly burdensome and unjust permanency threshold.
The House and Senate bills face opposition from medical doctors, hospitals, and chiropractors. If the state eliminates the $10,000 of mandatory PIP, healthcare providers may have a more difficult time collecting money for treatment rendered. Under the current system providers bill the patient’s auto insurance and are reimbursed by the insurance carrier within a few months. Without PIP, providers could bill the patient’s health insurance (if available) or wait until the bodily injury liability claim settles, which could take many months.
On April 19, 2017, House Bill 1063 passed with 89 yeas and 29 nays.