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Florida’s New PIP Law Hurts Consumers

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Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, unless you work for the insurance industry, you really should be appalled by Governor Rick Scott’s latest episode of trampling all over the rights of Florida’s hard-working citizens.  Florida’s new PIP law undoubtedly hurts all consumers, Republican and Democrat alike.  In case you have not heard, Rick Scott signed a new PIP law on March 10, 2012 (or more accurately he approved amendments to the existing PIP law, most of which just went into effect on January 1, 2013).  Most people know that every Florida driver is required to have at least 10K in personal injury protection insurance which, as an aside, is pathetically low and should be much higher, since medical costs resulting from any car accidents resulting in moderate to severe injuries easily and quickly far exceed 10K.

Limits of Florida’s New PIP Law

But Rick Scott was not happy with this already dismally low coverage amount.  Mr. Scott decided to include a provision in the new law that basically says that Florida’s drivers are entitled to nothing in PIP benefits (even if they paid for them) if they do not receive initial medical care within the first 14 days of an accident.  That’s two weeks–and how fast does two weeks pass in your own life?  Also, and even worse, injured drivers are only entitled to $2500 in coverage for anything other than an “emergency medical condition,” which is an elaborately and very narrowly defined term under the new PIP statute.  The law also significantly restricts chiropractic care, and eliminates acupuncture and massage therapy treatments from coverage.  So those who want alternative treatments, which many believe are more holistic and and less intrusive, are out of luck under this new law.

The Result?  We All Pay More For Less

The $2500 limit for anything other than emergency conditions means that in most cases you will still have to pay your insurance company for 10K in coverage, but in the overwhelming majority of cases you will not actually receive 10K in coverage if you are injured in an accident.  Rather, the law will lead to greater insurance profits at your expense.

Potential Pending Judicial Reprieve

The good news is that, on March 15, 2013, one circuit court judge issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of this new law on the grounds that it violated an individual’s right under the Florida Constitution to have “access to courts.”  But the ultimate fate of this law is still unknown because that ruling is still on appeal.  And Rick Scott, in bed with the rich insurance companies who help fund his campaigns, has, of course, vowed to keep fighting.

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About the Author:

Tina Willis is a serious injury, accident & death lawyer, based in Orlando, Florida, although she accepts cases throughout the state of Florida, and in Georgia, where she is also licensed. She vigorously prosecutes serious injury and death cases caused by auto accidents, semi-truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, products & premises liability cases, as well as medical malpractice.
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