New Florida PIP Law Could Make it Tougher for Injured People to Receive Compensation
Revisions to a current law scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, have James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury lawyers very concerned about the impact they could have on injured people getting the fair and just compensation they deserve from negligent drivers. Under the current law, all drivers are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which helps ensure that anyone injured in an auto accident will have some coverage for medical bills whether they were at fault for causing the accident or not. Under Florida law (Title XXXVII, 627.736), PIP insurance covers up to 80 percent of medical bills up to a maximum of $10,000, 60 percent of the injured party’s lost wages, as well as a $10,000 death benefit in the case of a fatal accident.
However, under the provisions of House Bill (HB) 119, which goes into effect in the new year, anyone injured in an auto accident is required to seek medical treatment for those injuries from a licensed physician, dentist, chiropractor or hospital within 14 days of the accident. PIP insurance will only pay for medical expenses if the initial treatment occurs within 14 days, and any further treatment must be consistent with the initial medical diagnosis by the medical professional in order for it to qualify for coverage.
HB 119 also describes specific monetary limits on the PIP medical benefits available to those who seek treatment within the 14-day window. Coverage for treatment of an emergency medical condition is limited to $10,000.00, and coverage for treatment for an emergency medical condition that is not initially diagnosed is capped at $2,500.00. The new law also defines what is, and is not, an “emergency medical condition.”
As we’ve written before, this new legislation could unfairly prevent injured people from getting coverage for the treatment they need if their injuries are not immediately apparent. People who suffer whiplash and other neck injuries, for example, often don’t know that they have been injured until weeks or months after the accident occurred. The PIP laws and revisions are written ostensibly to prevent personal injury fraud through staged auto accidents and fictitious injuries, but Mr. Cunningham and other Orlando auto accident attorneys believe that the current law and the new revisions will cause hardships for injured people throughout our state.
Insurance companies who provide coverage for negligent drivers use all their resources to minimize the amount of damages they have to pay in personal injury cases and negotiated settlements. This is one of the many reasons why people injured in car accidents should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney like Mr. Cunningham. He has been helping people injured in auto accidents since 1977, and his skills and experience are invaluable when building an effective case against negligent drivers. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, call him today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).
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.