Florida is one of the ten states that have Personal Injury Protection (also called "PIP" or "no fault") automobile insurance. Under Florida’s PIP laws, drivers are required to carry insurance in the amount of $10,000 to cover the driver’s own injuries and lost wages, regardless of whether the accident was the driver’s fault or the fault of the other driver.
Florida’s New PIP Law
A new law went into effect in Florida on January 1, 2013. Aimed at reducing insurance fraud, the law places new limits on PIP coverage. Under the new law, an injured person must seek medical care for injuries resulting from an automobile accident within 14 days of an accident. Otherwise, the injured person will not be able to recover PIP benefits. Some other portions of the new PIP law have not gone into effect because of an injunction (more details below).
Injunction on Florida’s New PIP Law
A group of acupuncturists massage therapists, and chiropractors brought a lawsuit challenging the following provisions of Florida’s new law:
1. To receive $10,000 in PIP benefits, a person must be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition ("EMC").
2. If a person is not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition ("EMC"), the person can only receive $2,500 in PIP benefits.
3. The following practitioners are the only ones who can make an emergency medical condition ("EMC") diagnosis:
- Medical doctor (MD)
- Osteopathic physician (DO)
- Dentist (DDS)
- Advanced registered nurse practitioner
4. An injured person can no longer receive PIP benefits for treatment from massage therapists and acupuncturists.
A Florida court is currently deciding whether these provisions are constitutional. Because of the lawsuit, a temporary injunction has been placed on the provisions. What that means is that, for now, these provisions have not yet gone into effect.
What is an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC)?
An emergency medical condition (EMC) is "a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, and/or serious impairment to bodily functions, and/or serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part." In other words, a person has an "emergency medical condition" if her symptoms are severe enough to indicate that immediate medical attention is necessary.
Should I Consult an Attorney?
If you have been injured in an automobile accident in Florida, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can decipher Florida’s laws, evaluate your case, and help you decide on a course of action.