Personal Injury Claims
According to a National Crime Insurance Bureau (NCIB) study being published by Insurance Journal magazine, personal injury claims in Florida, and particularly the south part of Florida, are down sharply over the past few years. There are several different factors that could go into causing this trend, but the numbers don’t lie. The general perception of dropping personal injury civil suits is true: the total numbers are dropping throughout the state. This is an interesting trend and one that has a wide array of implications throughout the state of Florida.
What Does the Study Look At?
According to the Sun Sentinel, the NCIB study looked at numbers of claims stemming from car accidents from the years 2011 through 2014. The study collects these claims and compares them, with special attention being paid to the PIP Insurance policies/laws that went into effect in 2012, to see what overall effect they might be having.
A clear trend definitely appeared during the study. Since the enactment of PIP regulations, there has been a steady and noticeable decline in the number of claims being filed in auto accidents, including those that are specifically labeled in retrospect as most likely frivolous in nature.
The study also breaks down the state by regions to see where the most change is taking place to paint a clearer picture of how this might eventually affect insurance rates in specific parts of the state. According to BizJournals.com these reports clearly show that southern Florida has seen the largest drop in claims filed compared to other parts of the state, although this shouldn’t be much of a surprise based on the fact that Miami, St. Petersburg, and Tampa would all fall under the southern part of the state.
What Are the Causes of This?
There could be multiple causes for the drop in personal injury claims throughout the state, and particularly in the southern part of the state, but it does seem that the biggest single factor is most likely the changes in the PIP laws. These determine how much someone injured in an auto accident could be privy to, and opened up how lawsuits due to injury could be prosecuted.
The law was also changed to increase the legal fees and potential penalties if people were found to be committing fraud, staging fake accidents, and even pushing for jail time in many of those situations. By creating more stringent financial and legal penalties for fraud, there has been a strong incentive to not commit fraud. In addition, changes in the amounts that could be paid out depending on the type of injury make it less profitable to attempt any type of fraud work.
How Does This Affect You?
As long as your accident claims are legitimate, you shouldn’t have any problem. With the filing of any initial claim, it’s reasonable to expect that there’s going to be close scrutiny, and the same is true of filing an injury claim against someone else. While this is still an option for compensation for injuries in certain situations, anyone in Florida should make sure they have a case and avoid any “scatter shot” attempts to land some out of court settlements as this old strategy could prove very costly with the new laws.
The new laws that were passed to help weed out PIP fraud seem to be working, as there are far less frivolous or potentially fraudulent claims and cases being filed. While this still may remain an issue, it is one that is coming under control. This is also a good reminder to individuals looking to file claims or pursue legal action to make sure to have as many records as possible that are as detailed as possible to cover all of your bases.