United Automobile Insurance Company v. Family Rehab, Inc.—(Per Curiam Emas, Scales & Lindsey; 3DCA; 2/22/23).
An insured injured person entitled to personal injury protection (“PIP”) benefits received medical care from Family Rehab, Inc. and then assigned his benefits to the care provider. The care provider made a demand letter. and United Auto paid all the benefits due but neglected to pay the statutory late payment penalty and the postage. These totaled $10.55. On March 5, 2019, Family Rehab filed the underlying Complaint seeking payment of the late penalty and postage. United Auto paid the late payment and postage on June 29, 2019.
The trial court awarded Family Rehab nearly $5,000 in attorneys fees. United Auto appealed the fee award.
In South Florida Pain & Rehabilitation of West Dade v. Infinity Auto Insurance Co., 318 So. 3d 6 (Fla. 4th DCA 2021), the Fourth District held that an insured’s assignee is not entitled to attorney’s fees when the insurer timely pays all PIP benefits pursuant to a demand but does not initially pay the late penalty and postage. Everyone agreed that the case was on “all fours,” but Family Rehab wanted the Third DCA to reject the holding and certify conflict. Instead, the Third DCA adopted and followed the case and reversed the fee award.