We’ve mentioned in past blog posts that Florida may be trying to end personal injury protection (PIP) for good. Less than half of the United States offers some form of PIP, and only 13 states have mandatory PIP coverage for drivers.
If some lawmakers in our state have their way, Florida may not be one of those states for long. And you might end up thanking them. Because it is a change that could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Here’s where things stand right now:
Changes to PIP Law Have Already Begun… Sort Of. The process to change and possibly eliminate PIP has already started. In 2012, HB119 was passed in Florida to reduce insurance fraud through a few different changes.
The changes include requiring victims to receive initial care for their injuries within 14 days of an auto accident, and also cap non-emergency care at $2,500. Since 2012, insurance fraud and abuse has gone down, but many people believe there are still reforms to be made.
Study Shows Benefits of Eliminating PIP. In May, a $125,000 contract was issued to a consulting firm so they could research the possible monetary consequences of removing PIP from Florida law. Illinois-based Pinnacle Actuarial Resource conducted the study. They published their findings earlier this month.
Overall, getting rid of PIP could save motorists 9.6% on the part of their insurance that covers liability. That’s an average of $81 per year, and it varies by county. (It could save drivers $28 per year in Brevard County, all the way up to $272 a year in Miami-Dade County.)
The study also discovered that since the 2012 reforms, premiums have dropped 15.1%.
Is the Savings Worth It?
While this savings can benefit drivers, it is not the only thing that we should look at when talking about getting rid of PIP. Remember, personal injury protection is a “no-fault” protection. Removing PIP means getting rid of no-fault insurance laws.
Under the current system, PIP covers up to $10,000 worth of damages after an auto accident – regardless of fault. You could have caused the accident by texting and driving, or you could have been hit by someone who ran a red light while driving under the influence. Either way, you’d receive up to $10,000 worth of compensation. Only in cases of severe injury or damages above $10,000 is fault considered.
Another benefit of PIP is the ability to get damages covered quickly. Insurance companies tend to prefer coverage like PIP, because it reduces the number of lawsuits by getting money out to victims without too many questions.
The study published by Pinnacle Actuarial Resource does not offer suggestions on whether Florida should alter or eliminate PIP laws. However, it was commissioned to be ready for the 2017 legislative session, and the Office of Insurance Regulation is currently reviewing the results.
Eliminating PIP, or making other alterations and changes to current insurance laws, could severely change the way auto accidents and other personal injury lawsuits are handled in Florida. No matter which reforms or changes are made to Florida law, it is important to be aware of the consequences and understand how these changes will effect your insurance and your ability to receive compensation after an auto accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and you want to understand how PIP laws impact you and what you can do, reach out to an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer today.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 AVVO Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for 2010-2013 and Super Lawyers for 2014-2016.. Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.