Hoping to avoid Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance disputes? PIP laws in Florida changed in 2012 and now more than ever it is important to understand the laws that govern your ability to recover your PIP benefits.
PIP laws, known as Florida No-Fault, was designed by the Florida Legislature to provide a swift, virtually automatic system for payment of medical expenses and lost wages related to an Orlando auto accident. Unfortunately, through years of legislative wars, and consistent and protracted PIP insurance disputes, the system has become anything but effective and ends up hurting you. Get the justice you deserve by hiring an Orlando PIP & no-fault insurance attorney to assist you in settlement negotiations following serious accidents and injuries.
What is PIP Insurance?
Personal Injury Protection is car insurance coverage that provides compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident. It typically covers the policyholder, his or her relatives in the same household, passengers without their own PIP coverage, and other authorized drivers of the vehicle. It covers the occupants of the insured vehicle as well as the policyholder and his or her immediate family members if they are riding in another vehicle or are struck by a car as a pedestrian.
PIP insurance disputes arise when you are trying to recover PIP benefits after an accident and are unable to do so. There are bound to be many more cases where Florida residents are denied as they try to recover benefits thanks to recent changes in the PIP laws in Florida. 2012 saw some legislative changes that may make PIP insurance disputes more common in car accident cases.
New PIP Laws Passed in Florida in 2012
During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed HB119, which dramatically alters PIP payments and available benefits to insureds and medical providers.
Prior to these changes, Florida drivers were required to purchase the minimum $10,000 PIP coverage and it was expected that if the victim’s injuries were within the coverage limits, they would be compensated for. Under the new rules, all Florida drivers who own vehicles must still purchase a $10,000.00 PIP policy. However, now, most auto insurance companies are only going to voluntarily pay $2,500.00 for medical claims under that policy. That’s right – you most likely are only going to get only 25% of the benefit of your insurance policy without some type of fight.
This is according to Florida Statute 627.736 (1)(a)(4.) which states:
Reimbursement for services and care provided in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. is limited to $2,500 if any provider listed in subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. determines that the injured person did not have an emergency medical condition.
This brings up the question, what injuries are considered to be an “emergency medical condition”? In a car accident injury claim, it’s basically your word against the insurance company’s – unless you have solid medical evidence and the legal know-how to fight the adjusters.
The only solution to PIP insurance disputes such as these is to take legal action. I have spent months reviewing these new PIP laws and I am ready to help my clients keep their rightful benefits.
Car Insurance Coverage Is Critical In a Car Accident Claim
In Florida, your car insurance coverage is your first resource for seeking compensation after a serious car accident. Because of Florida’s no-fault laws, your own car insurance will serve as your initial form of compensation for your damages. When you recover your PIP benefits you will only be able to make a claim for up to the coverage limits you approved when you purchased your car insurance policy.
What is the Minimum Required Insurance Coverage in Florida?
Florida’s minimum insurance laws stipulate you must maintain $10,000 in PIP coverage, but it may be in your best interest to carry a higher amount. Consider the cost of medical care after a serious accident – a hospital visit alone can amount to several thousands of dollars. Surgery, even outpatient procedures, rarely costs under $10,000. If you do not have enough PIP insurance coverage you may be left to pay the additional costs out of pocket. Aside from medical costs, your PIP benefits are also used to defray the losses from being unable to work after an accident. The lost wages during this time should be covered by your PIP limits, but if you do not have enough coverage you may again feel the financial pressure from a lack of insurance. If you’ve already been in a serious car accident it’s too late to add more coverage to your policy – once reported to the insurance company your policy cannot be changed until the claim is resolved. This is why it is critical that you evaluate your policy. Make sure you have the proper coverage limits from the start, rather than lamenting your lack of coverage later after an accident.
Additional Options After a Car Accident
While car insurance is important, it is not your only recourse after a serious car accident. In cases of PIP insurance disputes, uninsured motorists, and underinsured policyholders, there is the option to file a personal injury lawsuit. This matter is one best left to those experienced in this form of law – personal injury attorneys. Once your PIP benefits are exhausted, or if you end up in PIP insurance disputes, you may need to take your injury claim to the next stage. A personal injury lawsuit will require legal counsel to bring your case to court.
In some cases you may be able to sue the other driver for his or her insurance benefits. Not all accident cases will find resolution with a lawsuit, so it is definitely an option you will want to discuss with an attorney prior to bringing the idea to fruition. Insurance and injury law can be complex and changes to these laws are not uncommon, such as in the recent changes to the PIP laws in Florida in 2012. I have studied these new laws and can represent your interests in an insurance dispute or lawsuit.