Challenging the sufficiency of pre-suit demand letters based on the specificity requirements of section 627.736(10), Florida Statutes has proven (in the past) to be difficult due to a range of conflicting rulings from both county courts and circuit courts in their appellate capacity, ranging from requiring substantial compliance to strict compliance with Florida’s PIP statute.
While the sufficiency of the demand letter is raised in most cases, the issue tends to not be aggressively litigated or successfully challenged because most county courts have required substantial, rather than strict, compliance. That has changed.
The Third District Court of Appeal in Rivera v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No. 3D21-27 (Fla. 3d DCA Feb. 24, 2021) has resolved this conflict in favor of requiring strict compliance with section 627.736(10), Florida Statutes. In Rivera, the Third District determined that subsection 627.736(10)(b) requires not only strict compliance but “precision” and a medical provider must include the specific information enumerated by section 627.736(10)(b). The Third District affirmed the county court’s determination that the pre-suit demand letter failed to comply with section 627.736(10) because it failed to “state with specificity or include an itemized statements specifying each exact amount, sate of treatment service or accommodation, and the type of benefits claimed to be due.” The Third District also held that any inaccurate, misleading, illegibly, or stale information contained in a demand does not strictly comply with the statutory requirement.
This ruling is binding on all trial courts across the state of Florida and will require judges to strictly enforce the demand letter requirements. We recommend reviewing demand letter for compliance prior to deciding whether or not to defend a potential lawsuit.
Link to Opinion
The attorneys at CSK are available to assist with evaluating the sufficiency of pre-suit demand letters, provide insight of language to include in demand responses considering this recent ruling and to provide a recommendation of whether to challenge the sufficiency of the pre-suit demand letters in court. If you have any questions, please contact Patrice S. Robinson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (954) 225-8145 or any of our PIP Litigation Attorneys at PIPLitigationAttorneys@csklegal.com.
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