Leon County Court Strikes Down New No Fault Law
A circuit court judge in Tallahassee has issued an injunction striking down certain provisions of the new 2012 Motor Vehicle No Fault law enacted last year. While this is temporary and the whole case will be decided by the judge later, it is surely a sign of what this jurist thinks of this unjust law jammed down Floridians throats by the insurance industry in 2012.
The judge found that certain new restrictions in the no fault law passed “beyond the outer limits of constitutional tolerance.” In other words, the judge held the law unconstitutional. Specifically, he ruled that the limitations on payments to chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists, as well as the requirement that policy holders establish they had an “emergency medical condition” in order to qualify for the full $ 10,000 in PIP benefits that they paid premiums for, both violated the constitutional rights of Florida citizens.
Article I Section 21 of the Florida Constitution provides that the “courts shall be open to every person for redress of any injury, and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay.” In 1971, the Florida Legislature eliminated citizens’ right to collect pain and suffering damages for automobile accident injuries, unless they were proven permanent, in exchange for mandating PIP or no fault coverage that covers medical expenses and wage loss to some extent up to $ 10,000. This courageous judge held that this new no fault law, reducing this already woefully inadequate amount of medical and wage loss benefits that is now 40 years old and outdated in every way, crossed the line by essentially depriving citizens of their constitutional right to seek redress for injuries in Florida courts.
Indeed, he is correct. In fact, we believe the no fault law is outdated and inadequate for today’s world anyway and should be abolished entirely. Instead, every driver should be required to have a mandatory minimum amount of liability insurance for the privilege of operating vehicles on Florida roads and to cover injuries they cause to others. Why should your own policy cover injuries caused by someone else anyway? It has never made sense. Of course, the case will be appealed. We hope this judge’s order is upheld. Even better, maybe the entire law will be struck down soon. It is about time.