The “Independence” Of Florida Auto Insurance Medical Reviews
As regular readers of this blog well know, Florida car crash victims face huge changes to Florida’s Personal Injury Protection laws that went into effect on January 1, 2013. (In fact, I wrote a Special Report about these changes that can be downloaded for free at www.2013PIP.com.)
One of the things that has remained unchanged in Florida’s PIP law is the automobile insurance companies’ ability to cut off an injured person’s access to valuable PIP medical benefits based upon a doctor’s supposedly independent review of the injured person’s medical records. In insurance industry circles these reviews are called “paper reviews” or “paper independent medical examinations (IME’s).”
Under Florida law, an automobile insurance company can perform a paper IME any time an injured person has already, or may in the future, make a claim for PIP benefits. It has long been our experience in working on Florida automobile accident cases that the majority of paper IME’s result in our clients having their benefits terminated, however in fairness to the insurance companies, it is true that they rarely perform paper IME’s on individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries in automobile accidents.
I thought it was fortuitous that when I was spending time reviewing the new PIP law, somebody turned me on to an NBC Dateline investigation of State Farm Insurance Company and some of the various medical outfits that State Farm has hired over the years to perform paper IME’s. I had not seen the report when it originally aired several years ago, and I am aware that some industry practices have been reformed since then, but I thought the report was worth sharing to the extent that it reveals the general mindset that seems to apply to automobile insurance claims and how seriously injured people are often treated. All four parts of the report are included below – each is between 10 minutes and 14 minutes long, but are definitely worth the watch.