Hoping to avoid Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance disputes? PIP laws in Florida changed in 2012 and now more than ever it is important to understand the laws that govern your ability to recover your PIP benefits.
PIP laws, known as Florida No-Fault, was designed by the Florida Legislature to provide a swift, virtually automatic system for payment of medical expenses and lost wages related to an auto accident. Unfortunately, through years of legislative wars, and consistent and protracted PIP insurance disputes, the system has become anything but effective and ends up hurting you.
What is PIP Insurance?
Personal Injury Protection is car insurance coverage that provides compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident. It typically covers the policyholder, his or her relatives in the same household, passengers without their own PIP coverage, and other authorized drivers of the vehicle. It covers the occupants of the insured vehicle as well as the policyholder and his or her immediate family members if they are riding in another vehicle or are struck by a car as a pedestrian.
PIP insurance disputes arise when you are trying to recover PIP benefits after an accident and are unable to do so. There are bound to be many more cases where Florida residents are denied as they try to recover benefits thanks to recent changes in the PIP laws in Florida. 2012 saw some legislative changes that may make PIP insurance disputes more common in car accident cases.
New PIP Laws Passed in Florida in 2012
During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed HB119, which dramatically alters PIP payments and available benefits to insureds and medical providers.
Prior to these changes, Florida drivers were required to purchase the minimum $10,000 PIP coverage and it was expected that if the victim’s injuries were within the coverage limits, they would be compensated for. Under the new rules, all Florida drivers who own vehicles must still purchase a $10,000.00 PIP policy. However, now, most auto insurance companies are only going to voluntarily pay $2,500.00 for medical claims under that policy. That's right - you most likely are only going to get only 25% of the benefit of your insurance policy without some type of fight.
This is according to Florida Statute 627.736 (1)(a)(4.) which states:
Reimbursement for services and care provided in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. is limited to $2,500 if any provider listed in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. determines that the injured person did not have an emergency medical condition.
This brings up the question, what is considered to be an “emergency medical condition”? In a car accident injury claim, it’s basically your word against the insurance company’s – unless you have solid medical evidence and the legal know-how to fight the adjusters.
The only solution to PIP insurance disputes such as these is to take legal action. I have spent months reviewing these new PIP laws and I am ready to help my clients keep their rightful benefits.
Car Insurance Coverage Is Critical In a Car Accident Claim
In Florida, your car insurance coverage is your first resource for seeking compensation after a serious car accident. Because of Florida’s no-fault laws, your own car insurance will serve as your initial form of compensation for your damages. When you recover your PIP benefits you will only be able to make a claim for up to the coverage limits you approved when you purchased your car insurance policy.
Florida’s minimum insurance laws stipulate you must maintain $10,000 in PIP coverage, but it may be in your best interest to carry a higher amount. Consider the cost of medical care after a serious accident – a hospital visit alone can amount to several thousands of dollars. Surgery, even outpatient procedures, rarely costs under $10,000. If you do not have enough PIP insurance coverage you may be left to pay the additional costs out of pocket.
Aside from medical costs, your PIP benefits are also used to defray the losses from being unable to work after an accident. The lost wages during this time should be covered by your PIP limits, but if you do not have enough coverage you may again feel the financial pressure from a lack of insurance.
If you’ve already been in a serious car accident it’s too late to add more coverage to your policy – once reported to the insurance company your policy cannot be changed until the claim is resolved. This is why it is critical that you evaluate your policy. Make sure you have the proper coverage limits from the start, rather than lamenting your lack of coverage later after an accident.
Additional Options After a Car Accident
While car insurance is important, it is not your only recourse after a serious car accident. In cases of PIP insurance disputes, uninsured motorists, and underinsured policyholders, there is the option to file a personal injury lawsuit. This matter is one best left to those experienced in this form of law – personal injury attorneys.
Once your PIP benefits are exhausted, or if you end up in PIP insurance disputes, you may need to take your injury claim to the next stage. A personal injury lawsuit will require legal counsel to bring your case to court. In some cases you may be able to sue the other driver for his or her insurance benefits. Not all accident cases will find resolution with a lawsuit, so it is definitely an option you will want to discuss with an attorney prior to bringing the idea to fruition.
Insurance and injury law can be complex and changes to these laws are not uncommon, such as in the recent changes to the PIP laws in Florida in 2012. I have studied these new laws and can represent your interests in an insurance dispute or lawsuit.
New Laws Will Change Car Accident Injury Cases
What exactly do the new PIP laws mean for insurance consumers and the medical providers who treat those injured in Florida car accidents? It means you better prepare for a legal fight with your own insurance company in each and every car accident case.
For consumers, there are important and immediate steps you need to take to make sure you are able to recover your PIP benefits. First, make sure you are seeing the right medical providers and getting the correct care to have the best chance of fully recovering from your car accident injury and receiving the full insurance benefit for which you paid.
You can find out more about these steps and what to do by requesting a digital copy of my free book, The NEW ‘PIP’. A copy will be instantly e-mailed to you after filling out our short order form – this is the easiest FREE way to learn about handling PIP disputes in the future.
For more information on how PIP laws in Florida change after 2012, my website contains several resources. You can check our frequently asked questions and informative articles for information that can help make sure you have the best shot of winning your lawsuit and are able to recover your PIP benefits.
For Florida doctors and physicians treating car accident victims, we also have informative, free articles and answers to your frequently asked questions about the PIP laws in Florida after 2012. You should read The NEW ‘PIP’ as well – your patients may have questions about their PIP insurance disputes and our book will help you give them answers.
Who I Am and How I Can Help You with PIP Insurance Disputes
Since 2010, I have devoted countless hours out of my practice and away from my family to help lobby for true Auto Insurance Reform. My goals have been to actually lower insurance rates for consumers and help good, honest doctors get fairly compensated and paid. In fact, I do not believe Florida should keep PIP! (Read my free report - Want Lower Insurance Premiums?).
Unfortunately, with the new state laws, PIP is here to stay, so let's deal with it. My experience in Tallahassee, in seeing, literally, how this statute was made, benefits me as I fight for my clients.
Courts are going to have to construe and interpret legislative history to make important decisions under this new law. It helps to have a lawyer who is on top of every legislative hearing that occurred in the last two years leading up to the PIP law change in Florida in 2012.
Based on this knowledge, I believe the HB119 is an epic failure on the part of the Florida Legislature and furthermore believe it is designed to fail. It fails because it will cause dramatically more PIP insurance disputes, and that defeats the purpose of PIP/No-Fault in the first place.
If you are an insured individual trying to recover PIP benefits or a doctor treating a PIP insured patient in PIP insurance disputes, you need to learn quickly. Here's a hint – under the PIP laws, you only have 14 days to act!
That’s right, a mere two weeks can pass quickly when you’re busy recovering from serious injury. My law firm and I want to make sure this never happens to another Florida family now that the PIP laws in Florida changed in 2012. With our knowledge of the nature of PIP insurance disputes, we can assist you in recovering PIP benefits.
To get started on the right path without running into PIP insurance disputes, we suggest you take the following steps:
While minor car accident claims can typically be resolved on your own, you owe it to yourself to get peace of mind by hiring an attorney to assist you in settlement negotiations following serious accidents and injuries. You don’t want to be left with a mere $2,500 settlement just because you couldn’t convince the insurance company that you had an “emergency medical condition”!
If you have questions about PIP & No-Fault Insurance please call our office now at 407-490-1271 for your free consultation. Our Orlando PIP & No-Fault Insurance are ready to meet with you today.
P.S. - If you need another reason, check our firm’s results - We try PIP cases against the biggest and the baddest. We are prepared.
P.P.S. - If you have been in an accident and you are within the first 14 days, you really need to read this report NOW! Request your copy before you’re involved in PIP insurance disputes.