When current as well as perspective clients come to visit us after an auto accident, they often ask us to help them understand what the current Personal injury protection laws in the state of Florida mean to their situation, and their rights for legitimate compensation recovery for their losses. Major revisions were made in the law at the beginning of 2013. Some of these revisions led to transparent, obvious changes, while others are much less clear, and still under interpretation.
The Florida Legislature passed changes to the PIP law effective January 1, 2013. Here is a direct link to the state statute pertaining to those law changes as of last year: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0600-0699/0627/Sections/0627.736.html
One change is that now personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is the only required insurance for drivers in Florida. Other significant 2013 changes to the PIP law that affect all policyholders are:
- Injured party must treat within 14 days of an auto accident to qualify for benefits.
- Massage therapists and acupuncture are no longer eligible for PIP benefits.
- Injured party must seek initial services supervised or ordered by a licensed physician or chiropractor.
- (Major importance). PIP benefits are limited to $2,500.00 (even if the policy says $10,000.00) if it is determined that the injured patient does not have an emergency medical condition (EMC). Patients will need certification by a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, dentist, physician assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner corroborating that they did in fact sustain and emergency medical condition.
In fact, you are paying the premium for $10,000.00 in coverage, but could end up with zero if you don’t get treatment within 14 days of the auto accident or just $2,500.00 if you do not secure an EMC diagnosis.
As of today there still are numerous uncertainties with the 2013 law as it was passed. For a while after the 2013 changes were enacted many of the insurance carriers were not requiring the EMC and were not limiting the coverage to $2,500.00 until the appellate courts and/or Supreme Court issued a ruling on whether or not those portions of the amendments are or are not constitutional. A ruling of this sort still has not be entered.
Due to the inconsistent internal policies of the individual insurance companies it is important for parties who are involved in a car accident to be proactive and follow the statute. If not, the injured party runs the risk of their insurance company not providing any coverage for medical bills or limiting the coverage for medical bills to $2,500.00. With that being said, if you are involved in a car accident it is extremely important that you seek treatment within 14 days of the accident, if not, it is almost a guarantee that your insurance company will not pay for any medical treatment after that. While you may feel fine or just a little sore in the days following an accident, you don’t know how you will feel in two or three weeks, so you need to protect yourself. That is why it is crucial that you seek treatment within 14 days of the car accident. You might be fine after that and not require any additional treatment, which is great, but you might get worse and that nagging pain might need additional treatment and/or diagnosis, and if so, you can seek that treatment with peace of mind because you followed the statute and your insurer should pay PIP benefits for the additional care you seek.
The author of this blog post, Ryan Wynne, is a Partner of Slinkman, Slinkman & Wynne, P.A. He has been admitted to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, and practicing law in the state of Florida since 2007.
If you want to learn more about how the insurance companies are once again trying to use legal loop holes to avoid their obligations to you, or many other real world legal issues in cases of car accidents, slip and fall cases, airplane accidents, medical malpractice and nursing home abuse, truck accidents, premises liability, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, products liability, toxic/mass tort litigation, insurance litigation, and other personal injury and wrongful death cases in the state of Florida, you need to contact a firm with a level of expertise that yields results. That firm is Slinkman, Slinkman, & Wynne, P.A.
To learn more about our firm please go to our website, http://www.sswlawfl.com; or contact us directly at (561) 686-3400 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you win the judgement that you deserve for your pain and suffering.