On May 7th, 2012, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a controversial bill changing the way personal injuries are to be treated. More specifically it drastically affects the way injuries are treated using personal injury protection insurance (PIP).
PIP is insurance all drivers are required to carry. It provides up to $10,000 dollars for medical treatment and lost wages of accident victims. Before these changes were made, accident victims were able to obtain treatment for their injuries from chiropractors, massage therapists or acupuncturists whenever they needed it. They did not need prior approval from the insurance company nor did they did not question nor limit the accident victim’s treatment. Additionally, they were not limited in time. Victims were freely able to obtain treatment to recover from the injury and help themselves, their doctors and their attorneys evaluate the extent of the injury, so that proper compensation could be sought on behalf of the client.
Now, it has become harder for accident victims to seek treatment. You are limited on who can refer you to obtain treatment, you have a narrow window of time to obtain treatment and the PIP insurance can question you and investigate whether your use of PIP benefits are legitimate. In order to maximize your recovery and obtain treatment under PIP insurance, you MUST follow the new guidelines that will apply to all accidents that occur on or after January 1, 2013.
FIRST: You have 14 days to seek medical treatment for your injury from either a; physician, osteopath, dentist, chiropractor, physician’s assistant, advanced registered nurse, or a hospital or facility wholly owned by a hospital.
SECOND: In order to be eligible for up to the entire $10,000 benefit for your treatment, paid by the PIP insurance, you must have either a; physician, osteopath, dentist, supervised physician’s assistant, or advanced registered nurse officially diagnose your injury/condition as an “emergency medical condition.” A victim must have a referral from one of these medical care providers in order to qualify for PIP paid treatment. If your condition is not labeled as an “emergency medical condition,” then you will only be entitled for up to $2,500 in PIP benefits for your treatment.
THIRD: Massage therapy and acupuncture is no longer considered to be a PIP treatment option.
FOURTH: The PIP insurance may now require the accident victim to undergo an examination under oath (EUO) in order to investigate whether the accident claim is fraudulent. The accident victim who fails to comply will receive zero PIP benefits.
FIFTH: The PIP insurance may also require the accident victim to undergo an independent medical examination, to evaluate whether or not they would need to provide you payment for your treatment.
ALL of these new requirements have not only made it harder for accident victims to obtain basic treatment of their injury, but it has also made it more difficult for accident victims to build their case to obtain maximum settlement recovery. If you are in an accident, make sure you follow these guidelines so that you can maximize your medical and monetary recovery for your injury. Don’t let these new laws hurt your chances for maximum recovery.
If you have further questions, or if you are in fact injured in an accident, feel free to give me a call for a free consultation.