January 25, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- 2013 brings sweeping changes to Florida's PIP law
In Florida, every driver is required to carry personal injury protection auto insurance, also known as no-fault insurance or PIP coverage. This insurance is designed to cover reasonable medical expenses and wage loss stemming from a car accident injury, regardless of who was at fault in causing the crash.
Florida's PIP system has long been the subject of significant controversy. Advocates say that PIP coverage provides an important safety net, and that a generous interpretation of the terms of coverage is necessary to ensure that insurance companies don't put profits over accident victims' needs. Opponents, on the other hand, say that fraud and overtreatment have caused PIP costs to spiral out of control.
In an attempt to remedy these concerns, critics of Florida's PIP system passed a set of sweeping reforms that significantly limit accident victims' ability to recover benefits after a car crash. It is important for all Florida drivers to take time to educate themselves about the new law, so that they do not inadvertently prejudice their rights.
New law limits benefits
The new legislation, which took effect in January 2013, gives car accident victims 14 days to seek medical treatment after a crash. Those who wait longer than two weeks to visit a doctor will likely be unable to receive any insurance benefits.
In addition, the new law limits the total amount of medical benefits available. Although drivers are required to purchase at least $10,000 in PIP coverage, accident victims will be limited to $2,500 in benefits unless a medical professional certifies that they are suffering from an "emergency medical condition." The class of professionals authorized to make this certification includes physicians, osteopaths, dentists, supervised physician's assistants and advanced registered nurse practitioners. Chiropractors are not authorized to certify that a patient has an emergency condition.
Further, accident victims will not be able to recover PIP benefits for follow-up care unless there was a referral from a physician, osteopath, dentist or chiropractor. PIP benefits for massage therapy and acupuncture will be completely prohibited.
In exchange for these reductions in benefits, the legislation encourages no-fault insurance companies to offer their customers a 10 percent premium reduction. The discount is not guaranteed, though, and insurers who fail to meet the benchmark are only required to submit a statement explain why they have not reduced their premiums.
Working with a personal injury attorney
The changes highlight the importance of consulting with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney soon after a car accident. While most people predict that they will run into trouble when dealing with the other driver's insurance company, many don't realize that their own insurer can be just as troublesome. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, a personal injury attorney can help ensure that your insurer treats you fairly and that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Article provided by Gross & Schuster, P.A.
Visit us at http://www.grossandschuster.com---
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