Florida’s New PIP laws

By: Rachael Gilmer

October 5th, 2012  3:00pm

On January 1, 2013, Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) law takes effect.  After close examination of the new law it becomes obvious the new rules are a benefit to Florida insurance companies and a nightmare for injured individuals. The new PIP rules will make it more difficult for people who have been injured on Florida's roadways to receive their full claims benefits while allowing insurance companies a loophole for keeping rates high.
Starting January 1, 2013 in order for Florida insureds who are injured in an auto accident to receive any PIP benefits they must seek initial treatment within fourteen (14) days from the accident.  After the initial medical treatment, any follow-up treatment will only be covered if the services are consistent with the underlying medical diagnosis rendered on the initial visit.  Total benefits will include $10,000 for treatment of an emergency medical condition (“EMC”), or $2,500 for non-emergency medical conditions.  The Statute defines “emergency medical condition” as: medical conditions manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention would be reasonably expected to result in any of the following:

  1. Serious jeopardy to the patient health.
  2. Serious impairment to bodily functions.
  3. Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

If you are not diagnosed with an EMC, your maximum PIP medical benefit will be $2,500. Visiting the emergency room does not make your injury an EMC.  A trip to the emergency room at your local hospital could easily cost you more than $2,500 and if it isn’t classified as an EMC then you are personally responsible for any portion of the bill over $2,500.   A chiropractor cannot diagnose an emergency medical condition and although a general physician can, many PCPs and GPs do not treat accident victims.  Massage therapy and acupuncture are not reimbursable under the new PIP Statute which is just another change from the old PIP laws.

There is sure to be a significant amount of debate over the pros, the cons and all the gray areas of the new law between now and January 1.  Until then it appears that Florida citizens will receive less benefits under their auto policy while still paying the same premiums.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer to find out if you have a case.

Rachael Gilmer is a trial attorney in the personal injury department of Levin Papantonio.  Her practice focuses on motor vehicle accidents, trucking accidents, boating accidents and wrongful death.

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He also hosts the weekly DeSmogCAST and serves as co-host for Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced