PIP Reform Law Reduces Available Benefits to Car Accident Victims
Florida’s no-fault auto accident law and the associated personal injury protection insurance has been the subject of much debate. Florida is one of only twelve no-fault states. This means that regardless of who is found to be responsible for causing an automobile accident, everyone involved is entitled to up to 10,000 dollars in medical benefits and coverage.
But CBS 12 reports that because Florida has a reputation for being the state with the highest number of staged car accidents, legislators have passed a law to reform pip insurance. The Florida Senate passed the measure after hearing from insurance industry lobbyists and Governor Rick Scott on March 9. The new law limits the personal injury protection payments to 2500 dollars unless a doctor proves the victim has an emergency. It also requires that auto accident injuries be reported within 14 days of the car accident. The new law went partially into effect July 1.
Oftentimes, car accident victims do not realize they are injured immediately following a collision. It may take months for symptoms to develop. Under the new pip reform, people who wait for a month to get treatment would not qualify for pip benefits. Health care experts are also concerned that the reduction in available benefits will make doctors reluctant to send their patients for tests out of fear that the available money will be more rapidly depleted. This may make it even harder to prove a serious car accident injury exists.
Insurance lobbyists argue that the number of staged car accidents in Florida last year cost drivers 650 million dollars. The new law operates on the assumption that stricter rules will cut down on fraud and therefore reduce the cost of auto insurance. Florida law requires drivers purchase personal injury protection coverage, but the changes in the law make it easier for insurance companies to avoid paying those benefits. According to State Senator Joe Negron, the changes made in the pip reform law will reduce insurance premiums by a minimum of 25 percent. However, car insurance companies reportedly told the Tampa Bay Times that since they pay out a lot more in PIP benefits than they make from premiums, drivers will not likely see a reduction in costs in the short term.