Commentary by Zebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP
In January, 2013, Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law went into effect. The law requires those who own vehicles to buy $10,000 worth of PIP protection. This is a form of no-fault insurance that only gives the policy holder 14 days to seek medical treatment after an accident. If they wait longer than the designated time period, the policyholder will no longer qualify to receive benefits.
When a policyholder does seek treatment for injuries within the designated time period, they may be surprised at what they have to pay. If their injury is not considered an emergency medical condition, they may only get $2,500 of the $10,000 PIP coverage. Simply visiting an emergency room after an accident does not mean the injuries will automatically qualify as an emergency medical condition. The only ones authorized under the new law to make such determinations are physician assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, dentists and osteopathic physicians.
Any soft-tissue injuries resulting from a car accident that make people seek the services of a chiropractor are not classified as medical emergencies. People who would want to see a chiropractor concerning soft-tissue damage will only be able to pay $2,500 for their care. A single MRI can cost as much as $1,300 or more.
A decision to see a chiropractor cannot be made by the policyholder. It has to be recommended by someone authorized to determine if an emergency medical condition exists. If permission to see a chiropractor is granted, and it is not designated as an emergency medical condition, the policyholder will receive reduced benefits. Under the law, an insurance company can request the policy holder who submitted a claim have a mental or physical examination to confirm initial medical determinations.
All of the sections of Florida’s new PIP laws are now in effect. There is currently an injunction on the section of the law concerning emergency medical condition prerequisites for payment of treatment from chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists. The constitutionality of this statute is also being challenged in a class action.
If you are a Florida resident who has been injured in a car accident, and wants to know more about Florida’s new PIP law, contact Zebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP. These experienced professionals will be able to provide you with information about all your options concerning this new Florida PIP statute regarding Chiropractic treatment.