As of January 1, 2013, legislative changes to Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) statute, passed in 2012, are in effect. These changes will affect insureds, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, law enforcement, insurers, and attorneys. This will also have an effect on the offsets utilized against Plaintiff damages.
Insureds – Previously, PIP provided a maximum of $10,000 in coverage for medical services and lost wages. The new law applies two different coverage limits based upon the severity of the medical condition. In order to receive the maximum of $10,000 in medical benefits, a physician, an osteopathic physician, a dentist, a physician’s assistant, or an advanced registered nurse practitioner must determine that the injured person has an “emergency medical condition.” An emergency medical condition is defined as “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absences of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part.” If an “emergency medical condition” is not diagnosed, the PIP medical benefit is limited to $2,500. In addition, injured parties are required to receive initial services within 14 days after the accident.
Chiropractors – Chiropractors can provide initial services and care to injured parties; however, they cannot make a determination as to whether the injured person has an “emergency medical condition.” Furthermore, chiropractor visits are limited to $2,500 and can only be sought after a referral from an acceptable health care provider.
Massage Therapists & Acupuncturists – Massage therapy and acupuncture are no longer reimbursable.
Law Enforcement – Officers are now required to complete a long form traffic crash report for every accident involving death, injury, pain complaints, when wrecker services are required, or if the collision involves a commercial vehicle.
Attorneys – Lawyers may continue to charge for time spent litigating PIP cases and may be entitled to attorney’s fees from insurers; however, the application of fee multipliers is now prohibited.
If you have any questions about these legislative changes, please contact our office. We would be more than happy to discuss them with you.ote>