Florida law requires that all motorists carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, but many drivers do not fully understand the protection it provides them in the event they are injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Enacted in 1971, PIP insurance ensures that individuals who are injured in accidents have some coverage for medical bills and lost wages, regardless of whether they were at fault. PIP insurance covers up to 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of the injured party's lost wages up to a maximum of $10,000. It also provides a death benefit in the case of a fatal accident.
In exchange for that guaranteed payment, the Florida State Legislature enacted a restriction on lawsuits that only allows individuals to seek noneconomic damages (pain and suffering) if they sustained a permanent injury.
New PIP Legislation Limits Benefits You Can Receive
The Legislature approved a new PIP statute that went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, which limits motorists' rights to obtain benefits under their PIP insurance. The new statute has been deemed very friendly to insurance companies and more restrictive to individuals who have legitimate personal injury claims.
The following are the changes to Florida's PIP law that went into effect Jan. 1, 2013:
- Anyone who sustains injuries in an accident must seek initial medical treatment for those injuries within 14 days of the accident.
- The initial services and care must be provided, supervised, ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician, doctor of osteopath (D.O.), dentist or chiropractic physician or provided in a hospital or in a facility that owns or is wholly owned by a hospital.
- PIP insurance will only pay for follow-up treatment if there was an initial treatment within 14 days. In addition, the follow-up services must be on the referral from an M.D., D.O. or D.C, and the services must be consistent with the underlying medical diagnosis rendered on the initial visit.
- PIP insurance will include a $2,500 limit on the amount of medical treatment for non-emergency injuries.
Massage therapy and acupuncture are not reimbursable under the new PIP statute, so these types of treatment must be paid for out of pocket, under a letter of protection or by health insurance.
Meet With Our Florida No-Fault Accident Claim Lawyer
If the new PIP stipulations reinforce one message, it is that injured motorists are wise to seek the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney when seeking reimbursement for injuries suffered in a car accident. The 14-day time limit reinforces the importance of acting as soon after the accident as possible.
Our Orlando PIP lawyers offer a free consultation in which they can assess the facts of your case and recommend the best steps to take next. We can help make sure that you comply with the new PIP statute in order to collect the maximum amount allowed.
Call 407-442-3030 or toll free at 877-MAIN-LAW (877-624-6529), or you can email us to schedule an appointment.