Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a mandatory coverage on Florida car insurance policies that covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. The original purpose of PIP coverage was to make sure that anyone injured in an auto accident would quickly receive money to treat their injuries. In Florida, all drivers are obligated to obtain a minimum of $10,000 PIP coverage for medical bills and lost wages following an auto accident.
Due to rampant fraud and misappropriation of PIP coverage in Florida, insurance companies have lobbied to pass PIP insurance reform to limit the types of treatment available to crash victims covered by PIP, and limit the amount of coverage in order to avoid abuse and fraud.
The new PIP law, which took effect January 1, 2013, requires that persons injured in an accident must begin medical services and care within 14-days of the accident in order to be eligible for PIP benefits. The law also requires that injured persons obtain their initial medical treatment from specific medical entities. The initial treatment must be administered by the following:
- Emergency medical services personnel
- Facility that owns or is wholly owned by a hospital
- Medical doctor, dentist, chiropractor or osteopath.
Additionally, the new law bans the use of PIP dollars to pay for massage or acupuncture treatments and will limit the payout for non-emergency treatment of accident-related injuries to $2,500.00. A widespread concern is that accident victims with serious injuries won’t be able to get the care they need if they sustain an injury such as a whiplash or herniated disc because these injuries may not qualify as an emergency.
Nonetheless, supporters of the new law insist that the reform will contribute to overall lower insurance premiums and provide much needed relief to Florida drivers.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of an auto accident and have questions concerning your rights, call Blick Law Firm today at 813-931-0840 to schedule a free 15 minute consultation with attorney Michael Blickensderfer. Think quick, call Blick!