What is PIP insurance?
This insurance is required by law, thus if you have personal automobile insurance in Florida, you have these benefits (taxi cabs and/or commercial vehicles may or may not have this coverage). These benefits typically pay 80% of the medical bills incurred and pay lost wages of 60% up to a total of $10,000. However you may have a deductible which affects these benefits as well.
Changes for Car Accidents in 2013
On January 1, 2013 the laws governing car accident injury cases in Florida greatly changed. Florida is what is often referred to as a “no fault state.” This means when you are in an accident regardless of fault for the accident, your car insurance pays for your medical bills at 80% up to $10,000.00. This is what is commonly referred to as “PIP” or “personal injury protection” benefits.
What You Need to Know
Unlike what you hear on the radio every day in south Florida, PIP benefits does not result in money being paid to you. PIP is “benefits” paid on your behalf to medical providers so that you can seek the medical treatment needed after a car accident. The wage-loss portions of these benefits are often paid directly to you but it is done so at 60% of the money that you lost from missing work.
Time is of the Essence
The above-described PIP benefits have been the law in Florida for over thirty years, however, in 2013, the Florida legislature passed additional requirements that must be met for you to be able to take advantage of these benefits. The first requirement is time sensitive and very important. It states you must seek medical care within the first fourteen days after a car accident or your insurance company does not have to pay out these benefits at all! Most personal injury attorneys feel this new rule should be deemed unconstitutional because it is essentially the government allowing an insurance company to take away benefits that they promised to pay and for which you already paid the premiums. However, right now this is the law and you should know it. If you are injured in an accident you must seek medical care within the first fourteen days or you lose your benefits entirely.
Emergency Medial Condition
In addition to the time limit, the new law also states that for you to receive all of your PIP benefits you must be suffering from an “emergency medical condition” after the accident. The definition and requirements for such a condition is a highly contested issue in Florida between doctors and insurance companies. The best thing to do if you are injured in an automobile accident is to go to the hospital immediately after the accident. Hospitals are the most trained and knowledgeable about assessing an emergency medical condition. If you are not able to go to the hospital after the accident, your best alternative is to seek a medical doctor for assessment.
Don’t Go it Alone!
These new rules are very cumbersome and complicated; a mistake could cost your thousands, or even tens of thousands. Remember if you are injured in a car accident seek a personal injury law firm that specializes in car accidents. One that is in good standing with the Florida Bar, and one with decades of experience to get you all the benefits and compensation you deserve.