Florida’s NEW Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Law to take effect on January 1, 2013.
The Florida legislature has passed HB 119 which is the new PIP law which severely limits victims rights when involved in an automobile accident. The new law is a big victory for insurance companies and allows them to limit their coverage for accident victims while not lowering their insurance rates.
What is Personal Injury Protection?
Personal Injury Protection in the state of Florida covers 80% of any medical bills up to $10,000.00; 60% of lost wages and also $10,000.00 in death benefits. Florida requires all drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance coverage. PIP coverage gives Florida automobile accident victims a guaranteed way of paying a large portion of their medical bills, whether or not they are at fault for the crash.
NEW CHANGES IN FLORIDA PIP COVERAGE
These changes in Florida (PIP) coverage takes place on January 1, 2013.
– The initial medical treatment of an accident victim must be obtained within fourteen (14) days from the time of the accident.
The initial service and care must be lawfully provided, supervised, ordered, or prescribed by a licensed physician. The physician must find that injury is a medical emergency for PIP coverage to pay the full $10,000, otherwise PIP coverage will only pay $2,500.
Follow Up Treatment:
The new PIP law will only pay for follow up medical treatment and services if there is initial treatment within fourteen (14) days of the accident and the following occurs:
-The follow up must be from a referral from a M.D., D.O., D.C and the referral must be consistent with the diagnosis of the initial visit. Also, the follow-up treatment must be supervised, ordered, or prescribed by a Medical Doctor, Chiropractor Physician, Doctor of Osteopath, Dentist, Physician Assistant or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner.
HOW DOES THE NEW PIP LAW FAIL
To begin with, Insurance companies spent a boat load of money to lobby hard for this new bill. The massive spending by the insurance giants has paid off and insurance companies stand to save big money because of it.
Under the new PIP law, many people who have legitimate injuries from an automobile accident stand to run out of coverage. Under the new law, if the injury is not ruled an emergency then the victim is only entitled to $2,500 worth of coverage rather than the $10,000 covered under the old PIP law. The small amount of $2,500 can easily be used on diagnostic tests and doctor visits, which leaves no money for therapy or future medical costs.
Further, the new PIP law creates unavoidable future legal fights over what constitutes a medical emergency. The Insurance lobbyist for the new law argued that this bill would cut down on future cost of legal battles by eliminating a large portion of PIP fraud. However, the new law certainly will lead to heated legal debates on what constitutes a medical emergency. This will lead to prolonged fights between Lawyers and Insurance companies, while injured parties sit and wait to see if they will receive coverage for their injuries.
Finally, all drivers in the state of Florida will still be required to carry PIP insurance that can cover them for up to $10,000 in medical cost and lost wages if they are in an automobile accident. However, the new provisions which limit Insurance companies duty to pay legitimate claims will not lower your insurance premiums. Insurance companies can refuse to lower the your insurance rate if they give a written, detailed excuse.
The new PIP law is essentially a big kick back to Insurance Companies. The new law allows insurance companies to deny more claims, limit their liability to the insured, all while maintaining the same insurance rates on consumers. The new law is a government kickback bought and paid for by lobbyist to save Insurance Companies millions of dollars. The new law allows Insurance companies to continue with high premiums while reducing their coverage by up to 75%. The new PIP law is unfair and attacks the rights of Florida citizens, while protecting the big pockets of Insurance companies.
Insurance companies will try to confuse you and limit their liability to pay for your injuries. Always contact an Attorney before talking with an Insurance adjuster and never give a recorded statement without first consulting an Attorney.