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Florida Third DCA reverses trial court, rules that summary judgment in PIP case for plaintiff medical provider was in error because plaintiff failed to establish that the injured person, the passenger of a vehicle which was struck by the defendant insurance company’s insured’s vehicle, fit into any of the categories of persons entitled to PIP coverage

On August 25, 2021, in Geico General Insurance Company v. Hialeah Diagnostics, Inc., No. 3D21-101, the Florida Third DCA reversed a trial court summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff medical provider in a PIP insurance lawsuit against the defendant insurance company. The insured was injured when the vehicle in which she was a passenger, a medical transport van covered under an insurance policy with Illinois National Insurance Company, was struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant’s insured. The plaintiff reportedly could not recover payment from the Illinois National Insurance PIP policy for the medical services rendered to the medical transport van passenger and submitted a pre-suit demand letter to the defendant to recover the payments but listed the wrong Geico insured and the wrong claim number. After the plaintiff filed suit, these errors in the pre-suit demand formed the basis of the defendant’s defense to the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion. The Third DCA concluded that the plaintiff failed to show that the injured person was entitled to coverage under the Geico policy, noting that Fla. Stat. §627.733 requires PIP coverage only for the named insured, relatives residing in the same household, persons operating the insured motor vehicle, passengers in the motor vehicle, and other persons struck by the motor vehicle and suffering bodily injury while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle. The Third DCA cited South Carolina Ins. Co. v. Rodriguez, 366 So. 2d 168, 169 (Fla. 3d DCA 1979) (“an insurer of a motor vehicle under a Florida no-fault policy [is not required to] pay personal injury protection benefits to a passenger in an uninsured motor vehicle which collides with the insured vehicle, when that passenger neither owns nor operates a motor vehicle and does not reside with anyone who does so own or operate a motor vehicle.”