As accident clinics and Pip mills guised as lawyer referral services make room for Referral services and attorneys that put the client before the cash. For Months Florida has had a glut of sudo lawyer referral services who were only looking for auto accident victims so that they could collect th $10,000 PIP money. Sich phrases as " you are entiltled to a $10,000 settlement were showing on billboards and adwords to entice naive un educated auto accident victims. They poor injured victims thought they were going to get cash but, instead the accident clinics were reaping th reward. Not only were they getting the $10,000 PiP but, would keep treating to get the payoff of the settlement. This would leave the injurd victim with very ltille for rehabilitation and additonal surgeries and treatment that a disabling accident would necessitate. For months bonifide lawyer referral services were grouped in with this accident mills losing reputation and standing in the community. Finally a bill will be sighned in that may put an end to this.
AAA Attorney refrerral service has served Florida since 1997. Owned by a social worker not an accident mill, they have offered client referrals for all legal categories. According to Lisa Spitzer MSW " We have watched these accident mills with a hefty budget from massive PIP insurance endowments take over Florida""many of them reaching out to unsuspecting poor in minority neighborhoods". "We are happy to see something finally be done"
By The FCA
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Just as the Legislature finally delivered its PIP/No-Fault reform proposal to Gov. Scott’s desk last Friday, new problems and questions came to light, likely impacting his presumed approval of the measure. Scott has a constitutionally-mandated 15 days to make a decision whether to approve or veto House Bill 119, the Legislature’s last-minute attempt to reform PIP this year. The flawed bill continues to generate considerable controversy.
Statement by Michael Carlson, Executive Director of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) Regarding HB 119 by Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton)
(Tallahassee, FL)– “The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) supports reform of the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law, to increase the value of the premium dollars paid by Florida consumers, to arrest the rate increases that are occurring, and to restore health to the auto insurance market. We believe that if a comprehensive bill is enacted into law, consumers will see benefits, including rate reductions, as a natural effect of healthy market competition.
A. SCOPE OF PROBLEM
All drivers in Florida are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP insurance with a maximum deductible of $2,000. The object is to have all drivers and their passengers at least minimally covered for injuries suffered as a result of a motor vehicle accident. The $10,000 personal injury policy is intended to provide not only protection and peace of mind for the insured, it also relieves taxpayers from shouldering the burden of caring for injured drivers and passengers, who do not otherwise have health care insurance.
Unfortunately, a number of greedy and unscrupulous legal and medical professionals have turned that $10,000 coverage into their personal slush fund. Paying kickbacks for patients, abusing diagnostic tests, grossly inflating costs by engaging in sham transactions and filing fraudulent claims of injury, these individuals think nothing of enriching themselves by exploiting the misfortunes of others. The result is loss of coverage and marginal medical treatment for those who are injured, as well as higher insurance rates for all drivers.
Over 20 years ago a Dade County Grand Jury criticized this practice of "ambulance chasing." At that time, mandatory PIP coverage was only $1,000 not the $10,000 minimum we have today. Unfortunately not much else has changed as "ambulance chasing" is alive and well throughout Florida. Numerous investigations underway by DIF reveal that the practice of patient solicitation and brokering by organized groups of lawyers, medical professionals, and professional solicitors known as "runners" is occurring in counties as diverse as Duval, Hillsborough, Leon, Broward, and Palm Beach to name a few. Though patient solicitation is illegal, it is not necessarily a fraudulent act in and of itself. We see however, a strong correlation between illegal solicitation and the commission of a variety of frauds, including phony or inflated billing, unnecessary or inappropriate diagnostic testing, and trumped up lawsuits. We find it difficult to believe any medical professional can render competent care to patients when the exercise of independent professional judgment is clouded by the lure of exorbitant profits. Correspondingly, lawyers who engage in perpetuating this practice, or who seek out the victims to encourage the lawsuits, are also challenged to uphold their professional standards while counseling their client.
We must pause here to say that we do not intend to cast aspersions on all personal injury lawyers, chiropractors, or other professionals who provide necessary and important legal and medical care to motorists and automobile passengers in Florida. This is not a condemnation of any lawful practice or the vast majority of professionals who abide by the law and their respective codes of ethics. We have, however, learned that the illegal behavior is so rampant that those who are acting illegally are causing tremendous harm to the citizens of this State. It is the conduct of this group to which our concerns are addressed. To the law abiding professionals, we direct our plea for assistance in combating this scourge.
Where illegal accident victim solicitation occurs, the bulk of the people solicited are those whose names appear in traffic accident reports. As discussed below, the wholesale availability of these reports is a major contributing factor to this illegal activity. The other major contributing factor, it seems to us, is that the laws prohibiting this conduct have been ineffective in providing strong enough consequences to prohibit it. Despite the best efforts of many individuals in both the legal and health care professions, there appear to be few consequences for doctors and lawyers caught soliciting. Prosecutions have been difficult and disciplinary actions are rare. The punishment imposed provides little disincentive, and the behavior is unabated.
Can we finally clean up these PIP mills ?
Broward-based auto accident Referral Service and other companies that solicit clients who have been in car accidents got a legislative kick in the knees Friday, but they are still standing.
A bill designed to cut down on personal injury protection (PIP) insurance fraud passed the state Senate with the enthusiastic backing of Gov. Rick Scott. Yet how much the bill will actually change the booming business of car accident treatments remains unclear.
House Bill 119 does not outlaw accident clinics. Accident victims can still call 1-800-411-PAIN and go directly to one of the many chiropractic clinics in the company's network. However, the clinic can only charge a patient's PIP insurance $2,500 unless a doctor, dentist, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant determines that the patient has an "emergency medical condition." If the condition is an "emergency," more PIP costs can be billed.
All Florida drivers are required to carry $10,000 in PIP insurance, which covers most of their medical bills and lost wages if they are in an accident. Unscrupulous chiropractors and physicians throughout the state have become adept at burning through that entire $10,000 with multiple clinic visits and questionable treatments. one clinic is currently under investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office for "deceptive and misleading advertising" and for allegedly allowing doctors and lawyers to use up all $10,000 of a patient's PIP insurance.
One might assume this new bill would stop the chiropractors in a network from running up the bills. But some of the clinics, such as the Broward Rehab Center on West Oakland Park Boulevard, have a physician on staff. What's to stop that doctor from deciding all the patients have a medical emergency and need $10,000 worth of treatment?
The Pulp called one of the bill's biggest advocates, Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart), and the state Department of Financial Services, for comment. We'll update when they respond
We are waiting watching and hoping that something will come to the rescue for these poor accident injury victims who are so easily taken in by the runners and auto accident and inury mills,
If you are injured in an accident call a Lawyer referral service that has been serving all the needs of Florida since 1997. Call A A A Attorney referral Service
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