Fort Lauderdale drivers have a new reason to be cautious when heading out on the road as of January 1st — when an overhaul involving Personal Injury Protection (PIP) laws went into effect. While passed under the guise of preventing insurance fraud, the laws actually hurt those injured in a car accident and make it harder to collect compensation. The new laws favor insurance companies more than the injured and put up blocks to obtaining the full $10,000 coverage.
For one, the new and controversial laws act to reduce coverage for drivers in Florida by capping payment for chiropractic treatment at $2,500 — while also increasing the amount of time an insurer has to pay on a valid claim. The laws also allow for the use of an Examination Under Oath, or EUO, by insurance company lawyers. An EUO is a formal statement given in the presence of a court reporter. Failure to attend an EUO can result in denial of benefits.
Prior to January 1st, PIP coverage existed so that individuals would have their medical expenses paid regardless of whether or not they caused the accident. Originally 80 percent of all medical bills were paid for and 60 percent of lost wages, up to $10,000. The new law now requires that medical treatment must be obtained within 14 days of the accident — a very small window for people injured — or you won’t get PIP benefits.
Healthcare professionals also have a reason to be leery of the new laws, since practitioners such as massage therapists and acupuncturists will no longer be allowed to treat patients under PIP. In addition, the law does not require insurance companies to notify policyholders of PIP changes, which pulls the rug out from underneath them without their knowledge or understanding of why they can’t rely on this coverage.
Because of the unfairness of this change, a coalition of Florida massage therapists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists have filed a lawsuit fighting the limits the new law imposes on the types of medical professionals and procedures covered after an accident.
These PIP changes won’t save consumers money and will significantly reduce insurance funds allotted to injured people. If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida and have questions about how to proceed, call a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney to discuss a personal injury claim settlement.
Don’t hurt yourself further by not knowing all of your rights.