As of January 1, 2013, the state of Florida has made significant changes to its Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law.
Since your insurance premiums probably haven’t decreased much (if any) as a result, you might not have realized that your coverage and rights are different now. Don’t wait until you’re in an accident to find out how these changes could affect you.
Just a refresher: Under Florida’s old PIP law, motorists were covered for 80% of accident-related medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000. There was no specified window of time for seeking medical attention or applying for PIP compensation.
The new PIP law (HB 119) introduces some serious limitations.
In order to be reimbursed by your insurance company, you must get a medical evaluation within 14 days of your accident. And in order for that medical evaluation to count, you must either go to a hospital (or a facility fully owned by a hospital) or visit a licensed physician, osteopath, dentist or chiropractor.
And unless your injuries constitute an “emergency medical condition” (EMC), you are only eligible for $2500 in medical benefits. To receive the full $10,000 in PIP coverage, your injuries have to fall within the official state definition of an EMC: “a medical condition…such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in:
- Serious jeopardy to patient’s health and/or
- Serious impairment to bodily functions and/or
- Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part”
As you can see, PIP coverage has narrowed considerably, leaving many motorists to rely on their own health insurance to cover any medical bills. Consequently, it’s especially important to make sure you cover all of your bases in the event of an accident
Here are some important things to remember.
- Because the window for seeking medical treatment is so small, do so immediately. Oftentimes car accident pain develops over time and we’re tempted to see if it will clear up on its own. Don’t. Again, if you do not have an initial medical evaluation within the first two weeks, you will not qualify for anything.
- You can’t receive coverage for any injuries that weren’t evaluated during your first visit. Make sure you report everything to your doctor, even if it’s minor.
- Under the new law, chiropractors cannot diagnose emergency medical conditions. So if you choose to visit a chiropractor on your initial visit, the maximum coverage you can receive is $2500.
If you are in an auto accident, don’t hesitate to contact us. Working with an experienced attorney will help ensure that you receive the insurance compensation you deserve, even in light of the state’s new laws.