Future medical treatments for Florida victims of automobile accidents were affected by the First District Court of Appeal's decision on October 23rd, 2013. The First DCA in Tallahassee upheld the decades-old Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law for automobile accident victims. This will ensure that Florida remains a no-fault state, meaning insurance companies will cover accident victims regardless of fault in the accident. However, which medical providers people choose may be affected.
The case involved an accupuncturist, a chiropractor and two massage therapists claiming that victims of automobile accidents would have limited access to their medical treatment should PIP continue as it has. The court decided that automobile accident victims with emergency injuries may receive up to $10,000 in medical coverage while those with non-emergency injuries get only $2500 in coverage. Those injured will still be required to seek emergency treatment within 14 days of the incident to qualify for the full amount of PIP coverage you pay for. The attorney representing the medical providers argued that the low non-emergency care cap and the 14 day limit infringed on the patient's ability to seek treatment and to bring forward a suit. The court disagreed and stated that the plantiffs' argument about a hypothetical victim harmed their case by not showing a factual motorist harmed by the current law. The result is that thousands of injured Floridians will be denied routine medical care until another court takes up the issue in the coming year.
Two new bills are currently being considered by the Florida Legislature to do away with PIP benefits entirely, instead requiring that all drivers carry larger mandatory bodily injury insurance.