Florida's New Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Law

Info from a Personal, Yet Aggressive Sarasota Injury Attorney Insurance Claim Denial

Sarasota injury attorney Maria Gerber and her law firm staff have received numerous calls regarding the date on which the new Florida PIP law takes effect and concerning the substantive changes. Although the Chapter Law that enacts the relevant statutory changes generally takes effect on July 1, 2012, the majority of the law as it pertains to care sought by the insured has been expressly slated to take effect pursuant to the statutory language on January 1, 2013. The Governor signed the bill on May 4, 2011, and the new law was filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on that same day.

Because Florida is a no-fault state, Florida motorists are required to carry a minimum amount of $10,000 in personal injury protection benefits. Prior to the recent changes, these PIP benefits would pay up to $10,000.00 in reimbursement for medical attention sought as a result of a motor vehicle accident. However, the new law requires an injured person to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident, and only those individuals deemed to be suffering from an immediate/emergency medical condition will be entitled to the full $10,000.00 in coverage. Others will be relegated to only $2,500.00 in PIP coverage. Note, massage therapy and acupuncture are no longer covered under Florida's new PIP law.

Please note, while the Chapter Law does not expressly address whether these changes can be applied retrospectively to accidents occurring prior to the effective dates listed, the fact that the Legislature has created different effective dates indicates the Legislature’s intent that these changes not be applied retroactively to accidents occurring prior to the given effective date of January 13, 2013. Regardless of this significant factor, retrospective application of a PIP statute is a complicated matter that is not definitively settled until it has been considered by the relevant courts of this State. At this point, however, it appears that these sweeping changes will apply to motor vehicle accidents occurring ON OR AFTER January 1, 2013, and therefore, would not likely be applicable to any pending motor vehicle accident claim/case one currently has.

It is imperative that Florida drivers be informed on the changes in the law and govern themselves accordingly to ensure they receive full benefits. For greater detail, please read Sarasota injury lawyer Maria Gerber's memorandum pertaining to the changes or contact Gerber Law with any comments or questions.

For more news on Florida's PIP law, view this article in the Sun Sentinel.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the 2013 Florida PIP Law Change


Q: When will the new PIP law go into effect?
Q: What are the biggest changes in PIP law?
Q: Who determines whether I have an emergency medical condition?
Q: Can I still seek care from a chiropractor for injuries sustained in an accident?
Q: What is an emergency condition under the law?
Q: Are massage therapy and acupuncture services for which I may receive reimbursement?
Q: As a result of the law, am I likely to see a reduction in PIP premiums?
Q: Do the new changes apply to my pending claim/case?

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Q: When will the new PIP law go into effect?
A: Although the Chapter Law that enacts the relevant statutory changes generally takes effect on July 1, 2012, the majority of the law as it pertains to care sought by the insured, has been expressly slated to take effect pursuant to the statutory language on January 1, 2013. The Governor signed the bill on May 4, 2011, and the new law was filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on that same day.

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Q: What are the biggest changes in PIP law?
A: Although drivers will still be required to have personal injury protection, benefits will be limited relating to the initial care sought by the insured/injured. Specifically, the insured must seek treatment within 14 days of the accident, and only those deemed to have an emergency medical condition will be entitled to the full $10,000 in coverage. Those not deemed not to have an emergency medical condition will be relegated to only $2,500 in coverage. Licensing requirements will also be tighter for medical clinics that want their services paid for by PIP.

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Q: Who determines whether I have an emergency medical condition?
A: Only qualified medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, dentists, physician assistants, or advanced registered nurse practitioners will be able to determine if the injury is an emergency medical condition requiring further medical services. It is important to note, that chiropractic physicians may not make this determination.

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Q: Can I still seek care from a chiropractor for injuries sustained in an accident?
A: Yes, although only up to $2,500 will be reimbursed for nonemergency care. There is concern from consumer advocates and trial attorneys alike that $2,500 is not enough to cover care for physical problems such as neck and/or back pain, which may not qualify as an emergency condition.

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Q: What is an emergency condition under the law?
A: This definition is not yet clear. Future litigation may be required to get the answer through a court determination. According to the new law, an emergency medical condition is one that puts a patient’s health in severe jeopardy, impairing their bodily functions or causing any organ or body part to be dysfunctional. Emergency conditions can also include broken bones or internal bleeding; however, herniated or protruding discs may be subject of debate. The state Office of Insurance Regulation is currently collaborating with insurers and the medical community to help define some of these issues.

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Q: Are massage therapy and acupuncture services for which I may receive reimbursement?
A: No. The State Chief Financial Officer’s office issued a report issued in 2011 identifying massage therapy for treatment of “soft-tissue” injuries (sprains, whiplash, etc.) as one of the factors which drive up PIP rates. Therefore, lawmakers have specifically excluded these services from coverage.

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Q: As a result of the law, am I likely to see a reduction in PIP premiums?
A: Unfortunately for consumers, the amendment does not require that individual premiums be reduced. Therefore, Floridians are likely to be plagued with increases in their premiums. Insurance carriers are required to submit new rate filings with OIR (Office of Insurance Regulation) by January 1, 2014 showing a reduction in PIP premiums by 25%. However, an insurance company is not specifically required to lower its premiums. Insurance companies need only provide a letter detailing their reasons for not lowering premiums and therefore, are relieved from any obligation to do so. Accordingly, because there is no express requirement that carriers reduce insurance costs in the new legislation, it is highly unlikely that Floridians will realize any reduction in their PIP premiums.

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Q: Do the new changes apply to my pending claim/case?
A: Please note, while the Chapter Law does not expressly address whether these changes can be applied retrospectively to accidents occurring prior to the effective dates listed, the fact that the Legislature has created different effective dates indicates the Legislature’s intent that these changes not be applied retroactively to accidents occurring prior to the given effective date of January 1, 2013. Regardless of this significant factor, retrospective application of a PIP statute is a complicated matter will not be definitively settled until considered by the relevant courts of this State. At this point, however, it appears that these sweeping changes will apply to motor vehicle accidents occurring ON OR AFTER January 1, 2013, and therefore, would not likely be applicable to any pending motor vehicle accident claim/case one currently has.

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