What Governor Scott hails as a victory for Florida Drivers may actually be a victory for himself and insurance companies. [Photo credit, Scott Keeler, Times]
Since 1971, Florida drivers have been required to carry state no-fault auto coverage known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Recently, Governor Rick Scott signed into law an overhaul of the state PIP stature. He hailed it as a victory for Florida drivers; however, many are calling the bill a victory for Governor Scott and Florida insurance companies.
With the economic downturn, many residents are driving around with little or no insurance coverage, and those people injured by the negligence of others cannot afford to have the medical benefits of PIP cut. The new bill which goes into effect July 1, 2012, includes these major changes:
- Injured motorists must now get initial treatment within 14 days
- Benefits are now limited to $2,000 instead of $10,000 unless a qualified provider identifies an emergency medical condition
- No massage therapy or acupuncture treatment is covered by the bill
- Benefits can now be denied if the insured person refuses to submit to an examination under oath when requested by the insurance company
- Insurance companies now have 90 days instead of 30 days to review and pay claims they suspect of fraud
Initially, the requirement to seek medical treatment within 14 days might sound reasonable. However, in my 32 years of practicing injury law, I have seen many injured victims delay treatment because they try to tough it out until they get better only to learn later that they have a serious problem requiring surgery.
Therefore, under this new law, if you are involved in a vehicle accident, you need to be examined by a physician or emergency room staff and catalog all of your complaints within 14 days. It is also important that Florida drivers request and always have uninsured motorist coverage as part of their motor vehicle insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage is the only way you can protect yourself and your family from the potentially devastating effects of being injured by a negligent driver with little or no insurance.
If you have been injured in any type of vehicle accident, please call me for a free consultation at 866-460-1990.