Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, vetoed the Florida legislator’s updated automobile insurance policy bill passed on June 30, 2021. The bill which was passed by the State legislator would have overwritten the current Florida State “no-fault” provisions which require licensed drivers to have mandatory Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance. The new bill would have required Florida Drivers to purchase mandatory Bodily Injury Insurance or BI insurance. The insurance which would have covered $25,000 per occupant and $50,000 per incident, it would also require the insured to purchase a $5,000 death benefit and gives the insured the option to purchase personal injury protection of at least $5,000.
The Florida Governor wrote that although the PIP system has flaws and the current laws, as it stands today, is “deficient”, the new law “does not adequately address the current issues facing Florida drivers and may have unintended consequences that would negatively impact both the market and the consumers”.
The New Legislation
The new legislation, which passed the senate on April 14, 2021 was believed to benefit victims of traffic crashes by holding the at fault driver responsible for costs associated with the traffic accident. David I. Shiner, Managing Partner at Shiner Law Group stated that “Governor DeSantis should have signed the legislation because it would have benefited victims and made the at-fault party responsible for damages.” He also stated that “the new law would have helped increase coverage for victims of traffic crashes.”
Both lawmakers and insurance carriers agree that the current system is flawed and rife with fraud, but they site studies that have shown that the bill would have caused insurance premiums to increase. Additionally, Medical providers were against the legislation because they would have lost a steady stream of income, they received based on the current insurance system.
What About Insurance Companies?
When insurance companies claim they are looking out for their customers by trying to keep premiums down, what they are really saying is that this new bill would force them to compensate the victims of traffic accidents more than what they are currently doing today, thus profits would be decreased. Based on their reaction one can only surmise that the new law would have benefited the victims rather than the insurance companies.
In fact, $10,000 is not enough money when you break all of the expenses down after a traffic accident. A trip to the emergency room after an accident may eat up the allotted PIP benefit or at least most of it. What happens when victims need follow-up medical treatments? As a personal injury law firm, we see the devastating effects a car crash can have on victims, both mentally, physically, and financially. Even a small fender bender can have long last effects and expensive medical bills that sometimes take years to pay off and this additional stress is not helpful to the victims during their recovery.
Florida Drivers Need to be Protected
Florida drivers need to be better protected and the current $10,000 PIP insurance coverage is inadequate. The new bill, just vetoed by the governor, was certainly a step in the right direction for victims and we disagree with the governor’s veto. In fact, this bill is similar to the insurance coverage of 48 other states in our union, we are one of the last remaining states to rid ourselves of an outdated insurance system, which dates back to 1972, when $10,000 went a long way.
We encourage the governor and the legislators to come together and find a way to protect the interests of the victims rather than the interests of Insurance companies.