Last year, changes to the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage contained within auto insurance policies went into effect in the state of Florida. The purpose of the changes is to curb fraudulent insurance claims, which cost the state almost $1 billion per year in increased premium rates. The revised legislation limits PIP policy claims that were not brought within 14 days of the accident. Now that one year has passed with the new law in effect, it is expected that auto insurance premiums in Florida should drop about 13 percent as a result of the decrease in fraudulent claims, as reported by the Digital Journal.
According to the article, Florida is considered a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning that if any injuries are suffered as the result of a car crash, each driver’s insurance coverage will operate to cover the injuries, regardless of whose fault the accident was. Any car accident claims are still open to legal action, but each driver’s PIP coverage should operate in the short term to cover immediate medical care. By its nature, the “no-fault” system decreases the number of delayed claims made by injured policyholders and provides for payment issues to be agreed on without the need for lawsuits to be filed. However, there are other issues that the “no-fault” system and PIP coverage create.
The Old System
Advocates of the new, stricter PIP rules say that the old law invited fraud by failing to have reasonable time constraints on claims and by limiting types of providers. The old system allowed treatments such as acupuncture and massage, which are not heavily regulated, to be counted with legitimate care providers for PIP payment. This, coupled with the state’s failure to place a time limit on claims, all but encouraged fraud, according to the new law’s supporters.
Effects of the New PIP Law
The article states that according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, there has been a drop in the number of accident injury and PIP claims found to be fraudulent in the last year, which is thought to bring lower insurance rates. However, some in the legal field are wondering if there is a drop in legitimate claims as well. Now, acupuncture and massage are no longer covered under PIP, despite the fact that they are based on hundreds of year’s worth of data. As a result, injured policyholders may be missing out on resources that could be valuable in their recovery. Another potential drawback in the new law is that it doesn’t account for situations in which a policyholder’s injuries are so severe that they miss the applicable 14 day deadline due to no fault of their own.
Those involved in an auto accident resulting in injuries have legal rights and may be able to take action against the other party or an insurance company, depending on the circumstances. If you or someone you know has suffered an injury in a crash in the state of Florida, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable. Contact us today for a consultation.