Auto Accident Attorney Robert Joyce Says Insurers Should Not Require Sworn Statements From Injured Parties
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 27, 2013 - The Florida Supreme Court ruled that Geico could not require a sworn statement before paying its customer for her injuries.
Plaintiff Merly Nunez prevailed in her suit against the auto insurance company in the 5-2 decision. The majority said that requiring an examination under oath was “unreasonable and unnecessary” and that the law in effect at the time of Nunez's claim did not allow such a requirement. The law has since been altered, however.
“A no-fault insurance system like Florida's PIP – personal injury protection – is supposed to get benefits to the injured quickly,” said Tampa auto accident lawyer Robert Joyce. “Requiring a sworn statement can cause delays.”
Those statements echoed the majority's opinion, which said that quick resolution of injury claims is a goal of PIP, and requiring an examination under oath contravenes the purpose of the statute.
The two justices in the minority, however, disagreed. They said that sworn statements exist to ensure that the swift payments that PIP provides go only to those who are legally entitled to them.
In 2012, Florida lawmakers overhauled the state's PIP laws and specifically allowed insurers to require examinations under oath. The revised law took effect on January 1, 2013. The Supreme Court's ruling therefore only applies to cases that arose prior to that date, such as that of Nunez.
Despite this larger victory for the insurance industry, the Nunez case was still a cause for great concern for insurers. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the Florida Insurance Council, and Allstate Insurance Co. all signed onto briefs filed in the case, claiming to have a significant volume of PIP claims that would be affected by the decision.
“I do not believe that an injured and insured auto accident victim should have to endure an examination under oath in order to recover benefits under a no-fault system,” added Joyce. “However, that is now clearly the law. Having the counsel of an experienced auto accident attorney is a major benefit during such an examination. You want to recover your benefits and move on with your life without getting tripped up on legal technicalities. A good attorney can help you do that.”
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave,
Tampa, FL 33606
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