Personal injury protection, known as PIP or No-Fault insurance, must be carried by every owner of a vehicle registered in the State of Florida. The insurance is meant to provide minimum coverage in the event of a car accident that causes harm. The Florida Legislature has tweaked and shaped the PIP statute in several ways over the years, sometimes for the better, oftentimes for the worse. The insurance industry has much to gain or lose from the PIP statute and it is often the driving force behind proposed changes. Changes that are set to take effect on January 1, 2013 could end up seriously damaging the rights of a person who is hurt in a car accident.
An injured party will be required to seek medical care within two weeks of a car accident in order to be covered by PIP. The doctor must then make a determination regarding whether the victims suffered an “emergency medical condition.” If those two conditions are met, the $10,000 of PIP coverage is still potentially accessible to the victim. If they are not, PIP benefits are restricted to $2,500 maximum.
The new rule will likely be the source of extensive litigation and massive confusion once it takes effect. It is clear that the law will make it more difficult for people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. The changes were supported under the questionable understanding that they could reduce insurance premiums. The savings are not required, however, for the law to continue to place barriers between PIP coverage and injured parties.
In other words, the only group sure to benefit from the changes to the PIP statute is the insurance industry.
Source: Pinecrest Tribune, “State legislature gets ‘no fault’ law wrong again,” by David Sampedro, 24 May 2012