July 11, 2013

Changes to the Personal Injury Protection Laws in Florida

The new laws in Florida that cover personal injury protection benefits have been made much more stringent to what they were previously. In general, the time that a person has to make a claim under an auto insurance policy has been cut down significantly, as well as additional steps being added to the process of receiving payments for medical bills.

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Beginning in January of 2013, the changes that the Florida's legislature created took effect making victims of auto accidents analyze their injuries and property damage in an extremely timely fashion. The policy argument that came from the state was that the new imposed rules would help to prevent fraudulent claims. The unfortunate truth of the situation is that many non-insurance related groups were impacted from these changes, especially those individuals who have been injured in auto accidents.

A major concern of many Floridians is that they will continue to pay the same amount, if not more, in premiums, while possibly receiving less in benefits. It remains the law that all state citizen drivers maintain a minimum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) in PIP coverage, while certain circumstances could leave them being only able to collect twenty-five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) in medical benefits.

The reform to the previous PIP laws has created a fourteen (14) day window in which an initial consultation with a physician must be performed in order to qualify for benefits. Previously, there has been no time restriction at all. If your first date of treatment comes after the fourteen day period, nothing will be paid by the insurance company to your provider. Initial treatments must be provided by a hospital or licensed clinic, or by a select group of professionals, including medical doctor, dentist, chiropractor and paramedic.

There are also two benefit thresholds:

1st: To qualify for $10,000, your injuries must be diagnosed as an emergency medical condition.

2nd: For a non-emergency treatment, the maximum benefit is $2,500.00

Additionally, certain therapeutic treatments will no longer be covered under PIP regardless of when the claim is filed with the insurance company. Insurance companies have no duty to inform their policy holders of the changes either. Though the new PIP laws require that insurance companies lower their policy holders' premiums by the year 2014, there is nothing preventing them from fighting this and possibly not having to follow through with it. The requirement itself forces the insurance companies to lower rates by at least 25%, but policies held by Floridians only have approximately 20% of their bills attributed to PIP coverage. This fact alone demonstrates that insured drivers in Florida will not likely even feel a decrease in their policy.

These new changes have certainly set off alarms in many of those who have or will be affected. Lawsuits have already been filed in opposition of the changes. The drastic measures that the state legislature has taken will without a doubt cause many issues with injured drivers. This makes it extremely important for you to know exactly how to pursue your PIP claim. Do not hesitate if you have been injured in an automobile accident, as it could create unneeded stress in your life. Contact the Fort Lauderdale offices of Madalon Law today to speak to an attorney and ensure you receive the medical benefits you deserve. We offer a free consultation and fight for the rights of victims throughout the state of Florida.