At least six more suspects were recently arrested in a widening investigation into automobile insurance fraud allegedly involving numerous area attorneys and medical clinic owners. Investigators allege that the fraudulent activity involves a staggering $23 million.

New federal charges were filed against three South Florida clinic owners, an attorney and two chiropractors in the Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade areas. The charges include racketeering, mail fraud conspiracies, wire fraud, health care fraud and making false statements. Investigators claim that the fraudulent activities involved dozens of chiropractic clinics used to commit automobile insurance fraud. The attorney that was arrested is also alleged to have paid more than $1 million to illegally solicit clients and then refer them to these clinics.

Clinic owners are alleged to have paid illegal kickbacks in excess of $2,000 to tow truck drivers and other people to solicit accident victims for unnecessary treatment at their clinics. Once treatment began, clinic owners allegedly conducted expensive and unnecessary medical treatment and procedures to attempt to utilize their patients’ full personal injury protection (PIP or No-Fault) insurance benefits in the amount of $10,000.

Here again is another highly publicized story of auto insurance and PIP fraud in South Florida. While it is unconscionable to think that attorneys and medical providers would prioritize profits over the best interests of their clients and patients, it is certainly an issue that must be dealt with. Each year when the Florida legislature goes into session there are cries to abolish the PIP insurance requirement because it is allegedly wrought with fraud and waste that only serves to drive up premiums on Florida drivers.

There may be some merit to that argument, however, a more important issue remains. PIP insurance is currently the only type of auto insurance coverage that is required by the state of Florida as it pertains to auto accident injuries. Bodily injury liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are not required, meaning that a driver who does not carry PIP coverage, and does not voluntarily purchase uninsured motorist, may be left with no insurance coverage at all to pay for medical treatment stemming from an accident caused by a driver who has no bodily injury insurance. PIP may have its problems, but it’s one of the only coverages that will help protect South Florida drivers who are injured in a car accident.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Florida car accident, it is imperative that you contact a skilled, experienced Fort Lauderdale injury attorney to protect your rights and determine exactly what insurance coverages may be available to provide compensation.

For more information on this topic or any other, please contact the attorneys at the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@www.schulaw.com