The New Auto Insurance Laws - What You Should Know
Florida is known for plenty of things – sunshine, orange groves, and amazing resorts just to name a few. But it's also now home to a new law that was passed by Rick Scott in an effort to curb fraud. Or at least that's what it's supposed to do. The Personal Injury Protection law – or PIP for short – was pushed through legislation by the insurance industry and is mainly designed to increase revenue for the insurance companies. While it will indeed help provide some measure of protection from other motorists, it is still fairly controversial.
Here are the basics of PIP under the new law, which took effect in January of 2013:
- All drivers in Florida must have Personal Injury Protection insurance coverage
- Current guidelines for PIP include that PIP must cover 80% of any medical bills, 60% loss of wages, and an additional death benefit in the event of an accident.
However, it's important to remember that under this law the injured party must receive treatment for injuries from an auto accident within 14 days. Waiting longer will result in an outright denial of PIP coverage. Additionally, there are only certain medical professionals that can be seen. Initial treatment must be through a DO, MD, chiropractor, or dentist or be provided in a hospital.
You'll have two kinds of benefits available if you've been injured and seek these types of medical care. They include:
- $2,500 for non-emergency medical conditions
- $10,000 for emergency medical conditions
The definition of emergency medical condition is also very clear, and includes medical issues that manifest with acute symptoms including severe pain. The absence of medical care must be expected to result in serious danger to a patient's health in order to be considered an emergency under this law.
Some will notice that this new law means that massage therapy, acupuncture, and other similar alternative therapies aren't covered under the PIP coverage. Additionally, insurance companies may have the ability to send you to a provider of their own to challenge their diagnosis. Doing so means that they could avoid paying you the payments you deserve.
Most insurance companies that do this have a specific provider they use on a regular basis. While you can visit any qualifying doctor for your diagnosis and treatment, insurance companies can 'challenge' that diagnosis through a provider of their own. If a challenge exists, it can stop you from getting the payments and lead to you having to cover the costs on your own.
Because of this, a lawyer may be needed. While your first priority should always be to get the kind of medical help you need, your second step should be to consult with an attorney to make sure that your rights are being represented properly. You may not always need help from an attorney, but in those instances when you face a challenge from the insurance company it's a good idea to have someone on your side that you can trust – and who understands the complexities of Florida insurance law.
Spend some time making sure you find the right attorney for you, and you'll be able to focus on your healing instead of spending time stressing out about whether or not you can afford medical bills that you shouldn't even have to pay. You're not alone, and help may be closer than you think.
With law offices from Tampa to Sarasota, Venice to Lakeland and everywhere else in the southwest Florida region, our team of experienced legal professionals is ready to help you. We have over 100 years' experience and have settled more than 10,000 cases for our clients, awarding them millions each and every year. Contact us now to learn more about your options and how we can help you.