Sometimes it sounds like we personal injury attorneys speak in a different language. It is the language of insurance. PIP is “personal injury protection” and this is the part of your car insurance policy that is always termed “no fault”.
It’s called “no fault”, because regardless of who caused the accident, your own car insurance company will always be paying for your medical bills.
Maybe you’ve heard of this as no fault insurance has been under attack in Florida because it has been so prone to fraud. It used to be that Miami was the no fault fraud capital of Florida, but recently that has changed. Now Tampa is.
It is true that some unscrupulous doctors and personal injury attorneys have used that insurance to enrich themselves and their buddies. Some car crashes are staged, some injuries are faked and insurance money is wasted. This, however, is a small percentage of accident cases.
Very recently a law was passed in Tallahassee to try to curb this trend. Whether it is successful or not is in great doubt, but personal injury attorneys, doctors and insureds (you) must be aware of these very significant changes.
I will break down the new law in simple bulleted points so you can follow along easier. It may not be a bad idea to print this out and commit it to some memory in case you, a friend or loved one is involved in a collision as failure to follow the mandates of this new law may bar you from even using your PIP benefits – something that you have paid good money to your insurance company for your benefit.
Anyway, here goes:
- If you’re in a car crash, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days. Any treatment thereafter might not be paid by your PIP;
- If you have a favorite chiropractor, you may see him or her, but no longer will massage therapists or acupuncturists be paid through PIP;
- Your $10,000 of PIP coverage will be limited to $2,500 if you have suffered a “soft tissue injury” (a/k/a “whiplash) injury only;
- If your PIP insurance company refuses to pay medical benefits, your personal injury attorney’s fees have now been somewhat limited;
- In order to determine if you have sustained an injury more significant than soft tissue, you will need to see an M.D., D.O., dentist or other medical expert to get past the $2,500 hurdle towards the full benefits of $10,000.
There are other more subtle angles to the new statute and to understand it all, you must talk to your personal injury attorney. Or if I may answer a question in this regard, please feel free to call us. Our main office is in Palm Harbor, but we have many clients throughout Tampa Bay including New Port Richey, Dunedin, Oldsmar and Holiday.