Florida PIP Law Dies In Legislative Session
As Florida’s legislative session came to a close on Friday, May 5th, a big ticket item still lingered: a rewrite on Florida’s Auto-Insurance laws and the minimum coverage a driver is required to have. The rewrite did not survive the day, however. Florida’s current no-fault system lives to fight another day.
The Current PIP System
Under the current system, all drivers in Florida must carry $10,000 worth of personal injury protection. This is also called PIP, or no-fault coverage. Whatever you choose to call it, the fundamental coverage is simple: each driver has a $10,000 pool of money that covers 80% of their medical bills and 60% of their lost wages, regardless of who is at fault. If there are multiple people in the car, the coverage amount increases to $20,000.
Of course, disputes will sometimes arise, such as:
- Did the patient experience an emergency medical situation?
- Did the medical provider submit the bill in a timely fashion?
- Is ongoing treatment reasonable or medically necessary?
However, the biggest knock on the current system is that it is wrought with fraud.
A New Proposal
Some Florida lawmakers believed that auto accident claimants were using PIP laws to substantiate bogus injury or wage loss claims. To combat this, those lawmakers proposed legislation that would do away with PIP law. Instead, they wanted to replace it with new, mandatory “bodily injury coverage” requirements. Under the proposed system, all Florida drivers would be required to carry a minimum of $25,000 worth of bodily injury coverage, which injured victims could make a claim against if they were not at fault. The amount would increase to $50,000 where there were multiple people in the car.
However, under this system, there would be no pool of money for healthcare providers to bill at the outset of an injury claim. There would also be no pool for money to cover the injuries of the at-fault driver. Practically speaking, this could leave doctors and hospitals holding the bill if an injured victim did not have health insurance. It would also make it more difficult for drivers without health insurance to obtain treatment for their injuries. One of the perceived benefits of the changes to the PIP laws is that it would reduce the number of fraudulent claims in Florida, and would result in an $80 reduction of auto insurance premiums for Florida consumers.
Current PIP Laws Remain . . . For Now
With the Florida legislative session having come to a close on Friday, these proposed changes were just some of several bills that did not make it out alive. Medical providers and proponents of Florida’s current system can breathe a collective sigh of relief. But they don’t expect their anxiety to remain cured for too long. Re-writing Florida’s PIP Law have been on the legislature’s “to-do” list since 2012, and the most recent effort likely won’t be the last.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.