Insurance is meant to protect you financially if you are ever in a car crash in Homestead or another community. You pay insurance premiums to an insurance carrier so that in the event of a car accident you can get compensation for catastrophic medical costs, car repair expenses, lost wages, and other expenses. Insurance coverage is the law in Florida and you must be covered if you are a driver.
You may expect that in the event of a car or truck collision in Homestead or your community insurance laws will protect you, but this is not necessarily the case. There are a number of laws that can actually make it harder for you to get compensation for your injuries.
For example, in January of last year a number of changes were made to car insurance “personal injury protection” (PIP) coverage in Florida. The changes require survivors of car accidents to file PIP claims within 14 days of the accident in order to get compensation. The new rules also require treatment for the injuries to be permitted by a chiropractor, dentist, doctor, paramedic or other accepted provider. Injuries not treated within 14 days by an acceptable health care provider could be denied.
As many patients and personal injury attorneys in Homestead and other Florida cities noted, the new PIP rules were problematic for three main reasons:
•Many injuries are not treated within 14 days because it can take longer than that for a proper diagnosis to be made. In the case of soft tissue injuries and other serious injuries, symptoms take some time to develop.
•Some injuries require treatment by a practitioner not on the “approved” list. Some survivors of a serious traffic crash, for example, may need the services of a therapist. Someone who has suffered a burn injury may need to get skin grafts and may need the services of a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. The new PIP rules also do not allow massage therapy or acupuncture to be covered, even though studies have shown that both these options can help injured car survivors deal with chronic pain.
•Someone who is severely injured in a car or truck accident may not be well enough within in 14 days to submit a claim.
Despite these concerns, the PIP changes were made, largely because insurance fraud in the state was costing Florida an estimated $1 billion per year. The new laws are intended to limit fraud. Unfortunately, they also can limit law-abiding drivers’ rights to fair compensation. While the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation forecasts that the new laws will slash car insurance premiums by 13.2 percent due to a smaller number of fraudulent cases, so far premiums have not dropped this much. The Office of Insurance Regulation notes that the number of fraudulent and suspicious cases in the state has already dropped in the year that the law has been in force.
If you have been injured in a car accident in South Florida, make sure that you are protected. Speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the collision to make sure that you have the best chances for compensation. If negligence played a role in the accident, you may find that filing a legal claim rather than seeking an insurance claim can secure fairer compensation. Alternatively, your attorney may be able to negotiate with the insurance company for a fairer amount.
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