Perhaps you have heard of an injunction entered by a Trial judge recently who decided to address head on some of the Auto Insurance, Personal Injury Protection policy (PIP) changes adopted by our legislature from last session and made effective January of this year. There has been a lot of discussion about these changes that involve treating physicians and the victims of the accidents. What will be covered, timing of the treatment, and the process for continuing to ensure appropriate submittal and reimbursement for that medical provision are questions so many seek answers for, and now some of these questions, with this most recent court victory, perhaps will be pushed to the forefront. Uncertainty, however, remains.
As the law is written now, and generally speaking, an auto accident victim needs to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident to trigger available medical coverage through PIP. That initial treatment is important because depending on what is involved in that treatment and the injuries that are identified, additional treatment that is oftentimes necessary may be restricted to those initial conditions. Further, some treatments that have been routinely and historically suggested for treating accident victims are no longer being covered as part of the medical payments provision, in particular massage therapy. As a result, with the most recent legal effort and a ruling by this proactive judge we now really have more questions than answers.
Uncertainty oftentimes follows legislative action when they decide to modify laws they do not understand. It is clear that there has been fraud and abuse in the system, yet attempting to overhaul and change some of the initial triggers involved in that care has led to inconsistent and confusing processes. That is what we now have because of this trial court ruling, and while we applaud the guts of the judge to take on a system and these PIP changes that make little to no sense and arguably restrict contractual and statutorily mandated requirements, the result of his ruling calls into question all the components of the new law. It is no surprise that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has filed a Notice of Appeal on the matter.
At Brock Law we do our best to advise our clients when we first meet them about these changes in the auto accident law and, when we encounter a provider who has questions about these issues, attempt to inform them as well. If we can help you in addressing these issues or give you any up to date information that we may have about them, including some of the legislative issues that are being discussed right now up in Tallahassee in our latest legislative session, feel free to give us a call. We are here to help our clients who need the immediate care and are available to answer any questions from medical providers on these complex issues as well.