James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury attorneys are voicing their opposition to a new Florida law expected to take effect on July 1. State legislators recently amended the statute that governs personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Mr. Cunningham and his colleagues believe that the changes could harm people who suffer injuries that are not immediately apparent, such as head and neck injuries from auto accidents. In our state, PIP insurance is a type of no-fault insurance coverage that pays up to $10,000 for injuries suffered in an accident regardless of who is responsible for causing the accident.
Lobbyists for the insurance industry have been lobbying lawmakers to amend the PIP statute for some time in an effort to reduce staged auto accidents and other types of insurance fraud. They also told lawmakers that an amendment would reduce excessive billing practices by health care providers. Some of the provisions in the new amendment include the following:
- There will be a new state agency that will be overseen by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer that will combat fake auto accidents and other types of PIP fraud.
- There will be tougher licensing requirements on health clinics.
- PIP payments for massage therapy and acupuncture will no longer be allowed.
- All drivers and passengers involved in an auto accident will now be required on the accident report.
- PIP payments for non-emergency medical treatment will be capped at $2,500, and a licensed doctor, dentist, supervised physician’s assistant, osteopathic doctor or advanced registered nurse practitioner must prove that the person receiving the payment suffered an "emergency medical condition."
Mr. Cunningham and other auto accident lawyers say that the changes limit coverage for injured people and will not provide the lower insurance rates for drivers that the insurance companies claim. More important, they fear that the new amendment will unfairly penalize people with injuries that do not become apparent until weeks or months after the accident, such as head and neck injuries. People who suffer these types of injuries often don’t realize that they have been injured until they begin to experience chronic pain long after the accident. Worst of all, the new law imposes a 14-day time period for injured people to seek medical treatment or they will be ineligible to receive the benefits of the PIP coverage they have purchased.
Insurance companies are in business to make money, not disburse it, and many injured people end up accepting less compensation than they are due simply because they get tired of dealing with their insurer. If you or a close family member has been injured, it is a very good idea to speak with an experienced Orlando personal injury lawyer like Mr. Cunningham before you sign any documentation from an insurer. Before you sign any papers, call Mr. Cunningham today at 800-425-2004 to schedule a free consultation. Let him deal with the insurance companies while you and your family focus on healing.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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