Florida Governor Rick Scott signed legislation on May 4, 2012 that was intended to reduce fraud in auto accidents, lower auto insurance premiums and lower litigation costs related to the Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) insurance law. This article will help Florida motorists to understand the new statute. It will also discuss how these changes will affect auto accident insurance claims once the revised statute goes into effect. The revised statute will be in effect for a portion of 2012 on July 1, and the rest on January 1, 2013. Remember that your insurance company might not have to notify you or amend your policy before the revised law applies.
* The revised PIP statute will be applicable in most cases to accidents that occurred after July 1, 2012.
* You are required to have $10,000 of PIP insurance coverage. However, your claim for PIP benefits if you are hurt in an auto accident will be limited at $2,500 unless you are deemed to have an emergency medical condition by a doctor, osteopathic doctor, dentist, physician assistant or advanced registered nurse practitioner.
*You must receive your first services and care within 14 calendar days of your auto accident. Otherwise, you will not be eligible for PIP benefits.
* You can seek follow-up care if you have received initial services and treatment within 14 days. As long as you get a referral form one of the listed medical providers,
The revised PIP statute does not cover acupuncture or massage therapy. You may need to pay extra if you have acupuncture or massage therapy included in your treatment plan.
* In the event that you are sent a bill by a medical provider for services you have received, make sure you ask your PIP carrier why. The medical provider may not be able bill you for charges not paid due to late submission.
* Your insurance carrier may request that you take an examination under oath (“EUO”); if you don’t, your claim under PIP could be denied. You may also have to pay for any medical expenses you have already paid out of pocket.
* Your insurance carrier may request that you undergo a medical exam. A refusal to or failure to attend the examination could result in your claim being denied for future PIP benefits. If you fail to appear for two (2) exams, it will be considered unreasonable unless you can show otherwise.
* While the purpose of the amended PIP statute was to lower insurance rates, Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature gave an “out” to the insurance companies. We will have to wait to see what happens. You shouldn’t be holding your breath! It is best to assume that your insurance premiums will not decrease, although we can always hope for better.
Disclaimer: The information and documents herein are intended to be used for educational and informational purposes only. They should not be considered legal advice or opinions. These documents and information are general in nature. Because the law is constantly changing, it may be applied differently to your specific situation and facts. This information should not be considered as a substitute for professional advice. The distribution and review of this information does not create an attorney/client relationship.