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Changes to PIP Laws Mean Changes for Auto Accident Victims

Changes to PIP Laws Mean Changes for Auto Accident Victims

When you’re injured as the result of an automobile accident, it is unlikely that you’ll have the presence of mind to be concerned with your rights—or to even know their extents and limitations. However, it is important as an injured party in an auto accident to understand the benefits to which you are entitled under Florida law, and the steps which must be followed to obtain those benefits.
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Recently, Governor Rick Scott signed into effect changes regarding Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) laws. Personal Injury Protection insurance is currently the only form of automobile insurance which covers medical injuries sustained in traffic accidents that drivers are required to possess by Florida law. Currently, PIP insurance covers 80% of medical bills and 60% of the victim’s lost wages, up to $10,000 total. Effective for all traffic crashes occurring after January 1, 2013, these rules governing coverage will only apply if the injured party received medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. If the injured person fails to receive medical attention within this period of time, they will only be eligible for a maximum of $2,500 of medical coverage through PIP insurance.

What else must you do to protect yourself? Injured parties must report every minor and major symptom at either the hospital or other medical treatment facility at which the victim was treated after the accident, or else the victim may risk losing valuable insurance coverage. Traffic crash reports written by the responding law enforcement officer must also include complaints of injury or discomfort. So if you are injured in an accident, even if your only immediate symptom is minor pain or soreness, be sure to infom the law enforcement officer and Emergency Medical Services personnel.

Initial visits to chiropractors will not be covered under the amended law. Acupuncture and massage therapy services will not be covered under any circumstances. In fact, in order for follow-up care of any kind to be covered by PIP insurance, the injured must have a referral from one of the following health care providers: a Medical Doctor, Osteopathic Physician, Dentist, supervised Physician’s Assistant (PA) or an Nurse Practitioner (ARNP).

Insurance companies may also compel the accident victim to submit an examination under oath, which is an interrogation conducted for the purpose of determining whether an injured party is entitled to PIP coverage. If the victim fails or refuses to show up for two of these exams, then the victim is precluded from obtaining any PIP benefits.

You may still be wondering how these changes will affect you. Essentially, these changes mean that the victim must be his/her own advocate, acting immediately to seek treatment and voice any perceived injury complaints to the appropriate authorities. If you are injured as the result of an automobile accident, here are some helpful tips:

• At the scene of the auto accident: Describe your injuries to the officer on the scene of the accident—especially if your injuries appear minor and are not obviously visible.

• Immediately after your auto accident: Seek emergency medical care within 14 days of the auto accident, and make sure that you get a referral from an appropriate health care provider for follow-up care. The longer you wait, the more likely it becomes that the insurance company might be able to deny your claim, leaving you (and your hefty medical bills) without coverage.

• Call the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller to speak with an attorney concerning your rights and how to proceed with your specific situation to help ensure you do not inadvertently make a mistake which results in loss of coverage. In addition, its important to note that PIP is only one of several types of insurance coverage which may be applicable to your claim, so do not delay in contacting one of our lawyers.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free consultation with one of our lawyers if you have been injured in an automobile accident at (866) 496-8752 or at Info@ForYourLaw.com.

BY: Monica Perez-McMillen, Attorney at Law
May 16, 2012
 
 
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