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Car Accidents: Florida's new PIP law denies benefits

On January 1, 2013, new changes to Florida's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law took effect. These changes significantly limit benefits for medical treatment and disability pay for Floridians injured in car accidents. Florida law requires that every driver carry $10,000 in PIP coverage. This insurance is also called no-fault insurance since it pays regardless of fault in Car Accidents. Despite the fact that this coverage is mandatory, and based upon a premium payment that assumes the full $10,000 in coverage, Florida law now provides a loophole that can allow insurance companies to avoid payment of some or all of this PIP coverage.

Under this new law, injured parties will have only 14 days to seek medical coverage with specific kinds of specialists, or be denied further care. If a specific type of emergency medical condition is not diagnosed by a specified health care provider within 14 days of a car accident, your PIP payment is automatically limited to $2,500, even though you paid for $10,000 in mandatory coverage. Governor Rick Scott and Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater heralded this law as a way to reduce car insurance fraud.  Scott signed the law in May, 2012.  Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis examined this new law, and on March 20, 2013 determined that it improperly denies access to medical treatment. He issued an injunction against the law changes to "prevent the potential harm to citizens injured in automobile accidents who, under the present PIP statute, may not receive necessary medical care." Further litigation through appeals courts is currently pending to resolve this conflict.

Car Accidents will remain an ongoing source of insurance and legal uncertainty for some time.

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