Sinclair Law

Sinclair Law Discusses Florida PIP Statute Changes


Melbourne, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/01/2012 -- Each state within the United States has different laws in regards to what the minimum requirements are for vehicle insurance. Florida has a No-Fault law, or Personal Injury Protection law, meaning that if you are injured in an accident, you will receive insurance compensation regardless of whether the injured person is at fault. Recently, however, Florida made changes to its PIP law, which will take effect on January 1, 2013. This legislation is called HB 119.

The changes to the law have been enacted in order to help prevent insurance fraud, which is a large and costly issue throughout the state of Florida. However, one of the primary problems with the new law is that many people will lose some of their insurance benefits without being informed. Insurance companies are not required to amend their policies when the new laws take effect, or to inform people of these changes, and insurance companies stand to collect more fees while providing fewer benefits.

The effects of the new PIP law in Florida are:
(1) Insurance companies are required to reduce their PIP premiums by at least 25% by 2014. However, insurance companies have the right to petition for exclusion from this part of the law, as long as they can provide documentation in support of their exclusion.
(2) A long-form accident report must be filled out at every accident site if the accident involves death, injury, or pain complaints; if a wrecker must be used; or, if a commercial vehicle is involved.
(3) There is now a legal penalty for false insurance applications and false claims for benefits.
(4) The $10,000 personal injury benefits are restricted to a showing by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathic medicine, dentist, physician’s assistant or registered nurse practitioner that the auto accident injuries constitute a need for immediate medical attention. Immediate medical attention is defined as such that absence of medical care would result in serious jeopardy to health, serious impairment of bodily functions or serious dysfunction of bodily organ or parts.
(5) The finding of the emergency medical condition, as described above, must be made within 14 days of date of accident. (Currently, there is no cutoff.) Only people diagnosed with an emergency medical condition within 14 days after the collision will receive the full $10,000 benefit. If no treatment at all is received within 14 days, then no personal injury benefits will be paid. Those with less severe injuries will receive $2,500.
(6) Massage and acupuncture are not included in personal injury benefits. These services were deemed “less of a necessity” by legislators.

The most important thing for every driver in Florida to be aware of is that under this new statute, every person is at risk of receiving fewer insurance benefits after being injured in an automobile accident. Fourteen days is a very short window of time to seek treatment for an injury, as many people do not seek treatment until their pain becomes persistent.

The new law aims to reduce the number of PIP claims that end up in court, and this is not to the advantage of the average Florida citizen. As changes to the law take effect, Florida residents should check their PIP insurance rates carefully for any changes. Those who are injured in an accident should contact a personal injury lawyer at Sinclair Law right away. It will be very important for you to take action and seek medical attention within that 14-day window. Visit today for more information regarding your rights.

About Sinclair Law
With over 25 years of personal injury law experience, Sinclair Law has been providing legal counsel for those who suffer from injuries due to an automotive accident, dangerous premises, or other reasons and helping them get the compensation they deserve. The firm staffs former insurance adjusters in order to provide a complete picture and the best-informed staff to help their clients negotiate the often confusing world of personal injury law. Visit today for more information.