Recent Changes To Florida's PIP Law

In 1971, Florida became the second state in the nation to adopt a statewide policy concerning no-faultinsurance, also known as personal injury protection (PIP). In the event of a motor vehicle accident, PIP covers necessary medical, surgical, funeral and disability expenses for injured drivers, passengers and pedestrians, regardless of who was at fault. Florida requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection. Earlier this year, the state House and Senate adopted Bill 119, which makes some drastic changes to Florida’s PIP law. The bill was signed into law on May 4, 2012.

How Is Florida’s PIP Law Changing?

Prior to Bill 119, personal injury protection would cover up to $10,000 for medical attention sought because of a motor vehicle accident. Under the new law, injured parties will be required 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 receive the full $10,000 in coverage. Everyone else will be limited to $2,500 in coverage. Moreover, massage therapy and acupuncture will no longer be covered.

Only qualified medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, dentists, physician assistants and advanced registered nurse practitioners will be allowed to determine whether an injury is an emergency medical condition requiring further medical treatment; chiropractic physicians will not be able to make this determination. Furthermore, the insured will be required to submit to an examination under oath (EUO) when requested by the insurer. Refusal to submit to or appear at two EUOs could result in denial of PIP coverage, unless the insured can demonstrate refusal was not unreasonable.

Insurers will have 30 days to pay PIP claims, but they will be allowed to suspend payment if they have reasonable belief that fraud may be occurring. After sending notice of suspected fraud, the insurer will have an additional 60 days to investigate it.

For more information about how the new PIP law might affect your rights as a car accident victim in Florida, contact an experienced Sarasota injury attorney today.

When Do the Changes Take Effect?

The majority of the law as it pertains to medical treatment following a motor vehicle accident is slated to take effect on January 1, 2013. While the bill does not expressly address whether the new PIP provisions can be applied retroactively, it appears the intent is for changes to apply only to accidents occurring on or after the effective date. However, retrospective application of a PIP statute cannot be definitively settled until the issue has been considered by the Florida courts.

If you are injured in a car accident in Florida, contact a qualified Sarasota injury lawyer to learn about your legal rights and how Bill 119 may pertain to you.