In March of 2012, the Florida State Legislature passed Bill HB119, the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Law, which went into effect in January of 2013. While the insurance companies hailed this as a major victory, it placed limitations on the benefits, litigation, and monies that were paid out in a personal injury claim or lawsuit settlement. Many individuals believed that the increased insurance premiums were directly attributed to the abundance of PIP lawsuits in the state of Florida and the passage of HB119.
Being a “No-Fault” state, Florida requires that all motorists carry the basic $10,000 minimum PIP insurance coverage. However, prior to the passage of the new law, there were really no guidelines to speak of where a lawyer’s fee limits or the types of medical treatments that would be covered by a personal injury protection policy. Consequently, the insurance companies felt that the old system was riddled with flaws and loopholes, and that reform was needed. That is why there was a modification done to cater to the current scenario. This has tightened the rules and ensured justice is delivered faster.
Impact on Motorist’s No-Fault Coverage
According to the insurance companies, the old PIP laws permitted “excessive medical treatment” and provided too many “opportunities for unwarranted litigation.” But with these recent changes in PIP laws, it is the injured motorist who could be coming out on the short end of the stick. Basically, these changes could have a profound impact on keeping or losing your no-fault coverage, depending on the situation. As a result, you should be aware of the following 3 important points:
- Delays in your care and/or diagnosis – you could lose your coverage if you wait to have your injuries diagnosed and treated. The new law states that you must seek medical attention for your injuries within 14 days of the accident. If you don’t, your insurer can legally deny paying you any benefits.
- Limitations on care provider choices – the list of medical professionals who are now covered under the newly changed PIP laws has been shortened and no longer includes acupuncturists and chiropractors. Ironically, these are medical professionals that are oftentimes involved in the care of accident injury victims.
- Reduced coverage amounts – injury victims could rely on the basic no-fault coverage minimum of $10,000. This is not the case any longer. With the changes in the PIP laws, coverage can be reduced up to 75% of what the minimum was. So, if a medical professional does not deem your injuries as an “emergency medical condition”, your coverage benefits could be decreased to $2,500.
If you have recently been injured in an auto accident that resulted from the careless, negligent, or reckless actions or behavior of another individual, you should talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. It is the only way to ensure that you will get the compensation you are deserving of.