Damaged Courts: Accident Medical Claims Benefit Attorneys and Clinics Over Injured People

MIAMI, FL, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ – When Mimose Alexandre was in an accident, her 1992 Isuzu suffered just $400 damage from a low- impact fender-bender. Her legal bills pertaining to this simple case though, are high enough to buy her a new Mercedes Benz.

Attorney Stuart Koenigsberg is seeking $112,500 from a Miami- Dade court on Tuesday. But he is not working for Alexandre. She has assigned all her insurance benefits to Brass & Singer, a storefront chiropractic clinic in Miami that says it treated her for back and arm injuries.

Alexandre’s insurer, United Automobile Insurance Company (United Auto), is challenging Koenigsberg and a court system that routinely allows litigators and clinics to use Florida-mandated personal injury protection to benefit themselves more than the drivers who pay for that PIP coverage.

“The PIP system is broken,” said Richard Parrillo, Sr., chairman and CEO of United Auto. “Car insurance premiums are being put in the pockets of lawyers and store front clinics, not the people who sought medical care. We need reform now.”

According to court records, Alexandre sought treatment at Brass & Singer for arm and back injuries related to a three-car accident in February 2003. Alexandre never showed up for the required independent medical examination (IME) and failed to provide a statement under oath (EUO). She didn’t show up to the depositions and was even a no-show at the trial. Unfortunately, the jury never had the opportunity to hear these facts. Miami-Dade County Court Judge Larry King ordered a directed verdict in favor of the clinic, effectively dismissing the jury and ruling on his own.

Now, the clinic’s attorney says he should be paid more than $100,000 in legal fees at a scale and hourly rate comparable to what attorneys litigating complex commercial litigation charge — all for a simple ‘cut ‘n paste’ PIP case. Judge King is hearing arguments from Koenigsberg and United Auto at the Coral Gables courthouse regarding this excessive fee request.

“These court scenarios favor plaintiffs attorneys over drivers and their insurance companies,” said Parrillo. “Time and time again, lawyers collect huge sums for simple fender bender cases with all of the signs of insurance fraud, but somehow seem to prevail in the uneven county court playing field we see in Miami-Dade and Broward County all of the time. In the end, the storefront clinics and their close-knit networks of PIP lawyers are slurping at the trough while consumers suffer when insurance rates go through the roof. This has got to stop today.”

United Automobile Insurance Company (www.uaig.net) is a property and casualty insurance company specializing in automobile insurance. The company is committed to providing its agents, and their customers, a quality product with state-of-the-art processing and claims service. Through its affiliates, UAIC provides a variety of insurance-related services including premium finance, claims processing and advanced on-line sales products. UAIC supports a host of organizations such as The Mike Lowell Foundation, Miami Children’s Hospital, Children’s Home Society, Heartsight Miami, The Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, St. Judes Hospital, Do The Right Thing, Florida’s Children First, President’s Fest in the Park, Aspira, The PASS Program and Switchboard Miami. Additionally, UAIG supports law enforcement programs, training and funded the Fallen Officer Memorial in Tropical Park.

SOURCE Boardroom Communications

Originally published by Boardroom Communications.

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