October 2020 Subrogation Newsletter
Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer Launches New Jacksonville Branch Office And Welcomes Partner Elizabeth Hernandez To The Firm
MWL is proud to announce the opening of its new Florida subrogation law office located at 1301 Riverplace Blvd., Ste. 800, Jacksonville, FL 32207. MWL is also pleased to announce that Florida attorney Elizabeth Hernandez has joined the firm as the managing partner of the new office, which opened October 12, 2020. We are excited about the experience and insight Elizabeth brings to the firm, and eagerly welcome her to our new Jacksonville office, which is already very busy. The increased need for subrogation representation of our Florida clients has long pointed to this expansion into Florida. Jacksonville joins New Orleans, Los Angeles, Hartford, and Austin as the latest MWL branch office.
Despite the good intentions of the Florida Legislature, no-fault insurance has created the problem of PIP insurance fraud throughout the state. In an effort to hold down premiums—an effort which has clearly failed—Florida’s no-fault scheme requires the insured to meet certain verbal thresholds before suing. As a result of PIP fraud and high insurance premiums, there has been a legislative battle brewing over the PIP insurance system.
Florida PIP subrogation is a pain in the butt. PIP insurance covers the insured – regardless of fault. To file suit against a negligent tortfeasor who caused an accident, Florida’s no-fault law requires the insured to meet verbal thresholds. As an indirect result of limitations on tort actions, the general rule in Florida is that PIP benefits may not be subrogated, but there are two exceptions.
Florida is a property subrogation mecca and understanding how to effectively document, inspect, and preserve subrogation potential in the Sunshine State is indispensable knowledge for any recovery professional. When a property damage loss occurs, subrogation possibilities should be at the forefront of any insurance professional’s mind. Experts must be qualified and thoroughly vetted to be sure that the judge in a subrogation suit will allow them to testify.
Subrogation professionals must be aware that Florida’s collateral source statute contains a trap for the unwary. Under F.S.A. § 768.76 (6), if a provider of collateral source benefits does not respond to the insured’s request for a statement asserting the subrogated lien amount within thirty days, the carrier may be barred from recovering its subrogation lien in the matter. The fine print is buried in Florida’s collateral source laws thousands of pages away from laws and case decisions authorizing Med Pay and health insurance subrogation in Florida. Not being aware of it can be fatal to your subrogation aspirations.