When you pay for a service like insurance, you expect to be able to reap the benefits when you need it – especially when possession of that service is required. With Florida's required Personal Injury Protection insurance, however, this is increasingly becoming the opposite of true. Governor Rick Scott signed HB119 into law in 2012, placing a new set of restrictions on claimants beginning in 2013.
Allegedly put into place to protect claimants, it has actually done more harm than good for those seeking compensation for their damages. If you are experiencing difficulties recovering compensation through your PIP insurance coverage, an experienced Melbourne personal injury attorney may be able to help.
The reform of Florida PIP is under immense scrutiny and has already faced an injunction this year. Many more changes may occur as the courts try to sort everything out. If you are having problems with your PIP coverage in Melbourne, Palm Bay, Viera, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Islands, Titusville, Cape Canaveral, or the surrounding cities, contact the experienced and compassionate Brevard County personal injury attorney of The Law Offices of James B. Coulter. We are keeping up with the latest updates on PIP reform and will help guide your PIP case in the right direction. To find out what The Law Offices of James B. Coulter can do for your PIP claim, call (321) 586-9944 today and schedule your free consultation.
The purpose of the Florida Personal Injury Protection requirement is to provide no-fault coverage of up to $10,000 for an accident victim to cover costs related to the accident like medical expenses and lost wages. After that, the victim must either pay the balance or pursue the rest of the damages in civil court. According to legislators and Florida PIP insurers, this resulted in excessive fraud which then drove up the prices of the required insurance. The 2012 PIP legislation was allegedly crafted with the consumer in mind, reducing fraud and thereby supposedly reducing rates up to as much as 25%.
However, the measures introduced by HB119 that is supposed to reduce fraud put the accident victim at a disadvantage. As a Florida resident, you are still required to pay for $10,000 in PIP coverage. With the new law, this does not mean you are entitled to $10,000 in coverage. Rather, you are only entitled to recover up to $2,500 unless a doctor, osteopathic physician, dentist, supervised physician's assistant or advanced registered nurse practitioner declares the injuries you sustained an emergency medical condition. Additionally, to recover even this amount, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Note that due to the changes in the law, massage therapy and acupuncture no longer qualify as medical treatment for PIP.
The new Florida PIP reform, therefore, charges the consumer full price for partial protection and dictates what is and is not medical care. In addition, the insurer now has 90 days instead of 30 to review PIP claims for fraud (but no new funding to do so), and can opt out of the required 25% decrease in premiums by submitting an "explanation" as to why. This doesn't seem like a victim-centric policy at all, but a protection for big insurance companies.
As soon as HB119 was signed into law, there was controversy and backlash from personal injury attorneys, accident victims, massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and others. In March 2013, Court Judge Terry Lewis signed temporary injunction against the measure. Some are of the opinion that the reforms should be adjusted, others that they should be thrown out and the original policy restored.
And yet there are still others that say if the original purpose of no-fault legislation was to prevent fraud and it has failed, why not let the citizens pursue their own damages in civil court? The future of Florida PIP law is uncertain – but one thing is for sure. There are going to be a lot of changes in the coming months, and you should consult with an experienced Melbourne auto accident attorney if you are concerned about your PIP claim.
The Law Offices of James B. Coulter | Personal Injury Protection Attorney in Melbourne
If you are concerned about your PIP coverage for an accident in the Brevard County area including Orange County, Seminole County, Indian River County, and Osceola County, contact the experienced personal injury attorney of The Law Offices of James B. Coulter today. We will fight for you to get the damages you deserve from your policy. For your free consultation, call (321) 586-9944 today.