According to Governor Rick Scott and legislators, reducing the amount of car insurance fraud in the state is a top policy for this year. Florida is the nation’s leader when it comes to many insurance scams, and a recent report suggests that a few food truck vendors have been taking part in the scam. Earlier in April, the Division of Insurance Fraud reported that 15 vendors have been using food trucks to stage fake car accidents in order to collect insurance money.
As a result of the insurance fraud problem, new rules have been instituted in Florida to make insurance rates more affordable while also reducing lawsuits and changing how insurance works in the state. So far, experts are divided about whether the insurance changes will help or hurt victims in Miami car accidents.
Many of the changes will be implemented this summer, but it may take until 2013 for the full impact to be seen. The new law, HB 119, will require insurance carriers to slash car insurance personal injury premiums by at least 10% by later this year and by 25% by the year 2014. However, insurance carriers will be able to request exemption from the cuts in some cases. In addition, the law will not allow acupuncturists and massage therapists to treat patients through personal injury protection (PIP). In addition to these changes, a new anti-fraud task force will be put into effect this summer and medical clinics treating car accident patients will face stricter licensing mandates. Long-form accident reports will be used more often and penalties for insurance fraud will be tougher as well.
Starting in 2013, those injured in Miami traffic accidents – or in any Florida car accident – will have 14 days to get initial medical treatment. If those people are found to have an “emergency medical condition” by a dentist, medical doctor, osteopathic physician, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or doctor assistant, they will be eligible for the full $10,000 PIP offers. Those who are not diagnosed with emergency medical conditions will be eligible for only $2,500 under the new PIP rules. Unfortunately, this means that those who suffer soft-tissue injuries will only be able to claim this amount, even though soft-tissue injuries can be long-term and can cause severe pain as well as considerable missed work.
Some medical experts are worried about the new rules, noting that medical professionals will be expected to perform needed medical treatment for $2500 or less. With current medical costs, where an MRI alone costs up to $1400, this can be a problem. Some medical experts are also concerned about the new limit on how quickly car accident victims can seek help, noting that serious symptoms may not develop until after the initial 14 week window. Legislators point out that PIP is only intended to cover initial, emergency care. They note that accident victims will still be able to turn to other insurance, such as at-fault insurance, for coverage.
Currently, it is not known exactly how the new changes will actually impact Miami truck accident and traffic accident victims. Even Miami personal injury attorneys do not necessarily agree about the full implications of the changes. While some legislators are hopeful that the PIP reforms will reduce insurance fraud, some experts worry whether the changes will make it even harder for victims to get the support they need, especially as medical costs increase.
If you have been injured in a Miami car accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group. The legal team at the Flaxman Law Group can arrange for a free consultation for you so that you can have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney.