personal injury - employment law - commercial litigation
PIP Ruling Unfavorable To Chiropractors, Massage Therapists & Acupuncturists:
On October 23, 2013 the First District Court of Appeals ruled that a chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncturist lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of certain provisions of the 2012 PIP Act. The trial court had ruled that the law was inconsistent with the constitutional right of access to the courts and issued a temporary injunction precluding the Commissioner of the Florida office of Insurance Regulation from enforcing some provisions of the law. The appellate court reversed the entry of the injunction
To be eligible for PIP medical benefits under the new law, a person injured in a car accident must seek initial services from specified providers within 14 days after the accident. Medical benefits up to $10,000 are available for emergency medical conditions diagnosed by certain providers. Up to $2,500 in benefits are provided for non-emergency medical conditions.
The new law excludes licensed massage therapists and licensed acupuncturists from being reimbursed for medical treatment. Although chiropractors are authorized to provide treatment to injured persons, they are not authorized to determine whether the patient has suffered an emergency medical condition. Thus, solely chiropractic treatment would be limited to $2,500.
In order to challenge the constitutionality of a law, the challenging plaintiff must show that he or she has standing – that is the plaintiff must show a violation of their constitutional right to access of the courts. In this case, however, the health providers asserted a violation of their patients’ right to access to the courts. Absent from the lawsuit was an injured driver whose benefits had been limited. The appellate court essentially ruled that the wrong plaintiff brought the lawsuit, essentially sidestepping the real issue of whether the PIP law is constitutional.
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