Each and every day there are car accidents in and around South Florida. Terrible accidents occur all over the United States. Florida lawmakers and insurance companies are really concerned because of the excess speeds and road rage that is common here. Over the years there has been a significant increase in insurance premiums in Florida, as well as an increase in car accident lawsuits. This erratic behavior has led to an unprecedented number of accidents over the years. It has also resulted in an abuse of the P.I.P. laws by some businesses. The legislature and many insurance companies have been calling for an overhaul of Florida P.I.P. laws for years.
The South Florida Law Firm of Law Firm of Berman and Tsombanakis, LLC, handles PIP lawsuits, as well as other personal injury and civil litigation cases. The client list includes a wide range of parties with various types of injuries. These injuries have ranged from soft tissue injuries, to broke bones to paralyzation to unfortunately in some cases, death. Our clients in the past have received services from businesses that will be effected by these new laws. Below, the lawyers at Berman and Tsombanakis, LLC, will address how the new P.I.P. laws will effect the P.I.P. business for insurance companies, law firms, medical doctors as well as alternative forms of treatment. We will also discuss the filing of the first P.I.P. lawsuit, which was filed by a group of chiropractors, massage therapist and acupuncturist. How will this really effect the citizens of Florida, future P.I.P. cases, victims of car accidents, chiropractors, medical doctors, lawyers and other businesses.
Personal Injury Protection cases or P.I.P. cases have been a major force in the business of law for many years. Everyday on many different media outlets, one may here advertisements related to P.I.P. cases. Whether it is from a law firm, an insurance company, a chiropractors office or a physical therapy treatment center. These cases are very profitable cases and they have been for decades. Effective January 1, 2013, the true test of the new laws governing P.I.P. cases will be administered. It appears that chiropractors, massage therapist and acupuncturist will bear the brunt of the new changes to the P.I.P. laws.
On March 10, 2012, the Florida Legislature passed new PIP Laws. These laws were endorsed by Insurance companies. They also are supported by and received a lot of backing from Governor Rick Scott, as well as many of his supporters. Many feel that this new law struck a “strong blow” to Personal Injury Lawsuits in Florida. Under the new laws, politicians in Tallahassee believe that the laws will reduce auto insurance rates in Florida. They also believe that this law will “impose sweeping changes and significant restrictions on both health care providers and consumers.”This law was originally marketed to the people and lobbied before the Florida legislature as a positive to the citizens of Florida. However, many on the business side of personal injury cases do not see this as a positive and feel that it may destroy businesses.
On October 10, 2012, chiropractors, massage therapist, acupuncturist and other business owners took a stand and fought back. They filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida arguing against the the new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Laws. The group of concerned businesses have stated in their lawsuits that this law will have “sweeping effects in the industry and thus in some cases close their businesses all together. The lawsuit says that the new PIP law, passed this spring, “imposes sweeping changes and significant restrictions on both health care providers and consumers.”
The new legislation makes a number of changes to the state’s no-fault accident system, which pays up to $10,000 in medical care in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Under the new P.I.P. laws, accident victims must seek treatment in 14 days. This treatment may only be from specified licensed medical physicians. This list includes emergency room services performed by a physician, osteopath, dentist, physician’s assistant, or a registered nurse practitioner. Car accident victims are now banned from seeking acupuncture or massage therapy, and chiropractors are limited to only $2,500 for treating patients, unless they can get it classified as an emergency medical condition.
The new law has majorly reduced the amount of funds that insurance company would give to their client for services performed after an accident. It removes acupuncturist and massage therapist totally from their coverage. It limits the type of treatment that may be rendered and Consumer Protection Groups are very concerned for accident victims in Florida. This new law gives no recourse for people who believe in alternative forms of treatment. Under this law, Florida Auto accident victims will now be forced to rely on their health insurance rather than the $10,000 of medical benefits they were previously entitled to receive, under the old law.
The legislature and Governor Rick Scott claims that this new law will reduce insurance premiums across the state. However, some believe that because of loop holes in this law, that many citizens of Florida will never see any savings. October 1 was the deadline for insurance companies to file with the state what they will be charging customers in insurance premiums. They are required to reduce rates by 10 percent or give a valid reason why they can not. Many believe that these reductions will not be felt right away. Some also believe that the insurance companies won, in terms of who will benefit the most from these laws. As they are written they will receive a significant savings.
Under the new bill there are some provisions that on the surface seem to be a major savings to the consumer. The bill is designed so that insurers will roll back rates 10% by October 1, 2013 and 25% by January 1, 2014 or they must provide a “detailed explanation” as to why the rates were not reduced. Even with these roll backs, the numbers don’t add up when measured against the policy premiums. This is causing more and more consumers and businesses that are advocating against these new laws to question them and file suit that they be overturned.. Being that P.I.P. cases make up a very small percentage of the total premium which makes the 25 % reduction insignificant to a degree.
The suit that was filed earlier this month near Orlando, is the first of many types of lawsuits to be filed against the new P.I.P. laws. These companies that are famous for alternative treatments and who do not rely on medicine have had a lot of success in this particular field. In many parts of the world these forms of treatment go back for centuries before modern medicine was even thought of. Many naturalist or people who are simply not fans of prescription drugs for pain, rely on and favor these alternative methods. In addition to the patients of chiropractors, massage therapist and acupuncturist, these business owners themselves are in some cases in panic mode as they fear that there businesses maybe forced to downsize or in some cases close all together.
These alternative forms of treatment go back centuries to the beginning of time when cultures used physical therapy and naturally grown herbs to cure and heal the body. There are many people who still believe that this is the best course of action when healing the body. Only time will tell the effects of this law and if it will be overturned because of the filing of suits by the chiropractors, acupuncturist.
At the Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Personal Injury Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis LLC, through the building of personal relationships and working with reputable, ethical, and honest doctors, chiropractors, and other medical providers, we take the extra steps to insure that our clients are receiving only the treatment that is medically necessarily and needed.
If you have been injured in an accident, please email or call one of the lawyers at the Injury and Accident Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis LLC. at (954) 764-6099 or (954) 728-8885. We provide free consultations and can meet you at our office in downtown Fort Lauderdale, or at your residence or any other convenient location to fully discuss your case and form a plan to insure that you are fully compensated for your injuries.