14 to ZERO

Yes, after the 2012 Leglislative Session that is new score for Florida motorists after January 1, 2013. A huge sweeping change took place in the 2012 session that has severely LIMITED the rights of the Florida motorists after a crash.

This is information you need to know and must know to protect your family in today’s new insurance world. The reason the score is 14 to ZERO is 14 DAYS after your crash is ALL the time you have to seek medical treatment or you will ZERO PIP benefits after your crash. In my 18 years of practicing law, this is the very first time I have heard of any legislation actually setting a trigger of such a short period of time to take action or lose all of your benefits. Granted, it is the law and the Legislature has the right to pass laws they deem constitutional, but this new law feels like it was written specifically for the insurance industry and in favor of the insurance industry. As a Florida motorists you are REQUIRED to buy this coverage and have it in place on your Florida vehicle. So, the insurance industry is guaranteed a premium that we Floridians have no choice about. Then, if something happens and you don’t get treatment within the first 14 days after your crash, then by law your insurer owes you ZERO for no-fault medical benefits and lost wages.

BUT WAIT, there’s more. If you do seek medical treatment within the first 14 days, but you do not have an “emergency medical condition” as defined by the new law, then your benefits are reduced from $10,000 to only $2,500. Again, a pretty good deal if you write insurance policies and in my opinion a very bad deal if you are having to pay insurance premiums. So, under the “new law,” how many of us really believe that our PIP premiums will be reduced by 75% like our coverage is? It’s okay, I didn’t think you would believe that.

BUT WAIT, there’s even more. Let’s assume Dr. A certifies you have an “emergency medical condition” and therefore you continue treating past the $2,500 mark. Well, requiring the insurance company to pay at that point is still a little too much to ask so now the insurance company has what I refer to as a “clawback” provision. That’s right, let’s assume the insurance company gets a doctor to say in retrospect you did not have an “emergency medical condition” then they don’t have to pay anything above $2,500.

This law was supposedly passed due to “tons and tons” of fraud in South Florida. My issue is then go to South Florida and arrest the people guilty of fraud and prosecute them. Don’t pass a law that may as well be titled the “Early Christmas Present for Insurance Companies 2012 Law.”

For more on what PIP is supposed to do and what PIP used to do, please see my first book, The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance in Florida that is available for free from our website.

Until next time, if I can help you in anyway, then please feel free to contact me at (850) 795-4979 or e-mail me at ddykes@syfrett-dykes.com.

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