A new bill that intends to cut down Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud in Florida has passed the state Senate and will likely be signed by Governor Rick Scott, a strong supporter of the effort. Under Florida law, Florida drivers must carry $10,000.00 in Personal Injury Protection to pay for their medical bills and lost wages if they are involved in a car accident. However, it is still unclear whether the new bill will actually cut into the ability of pain clinics to exact as much money as they can off the $10,000.00 of Personal Injury Protection coverage.
According to blogs.browardpalmbeach.com, the new bill will limit the clinics' access to just $2,500.00 of the $10,000.00, unless they can show that the patient has an emergency medical condition. If the pain clinic can get a physician, a dentist, a physician's assistant or even a nurse practitioner to determine that the patient has the required emergency medical condition, it can then access the rest of the remaining $7,500.00 of PIP coverage.
Why Must We Limit Pain Clinics' Access to PIP Funds?
Over the years, some chiropractors and doctors have made it a habit to plunder the $10,000.00 of PIP funds with questionable treatments administered throughout multiple visits. That's why referral services that connect patients with chiropractors' offices and law firms have become a major problem.
You may think that there is nothing wrong with a car accident victim being referred to a chiropractor, a doctor or a lawyer. However, there is a great deal wrong when these victims are not referred to the specialists their conditions warrant, at least not until the $10,000.00 of PIP is exhausted. Instead, these victims are sent to chiropractors or doctors "affiliated" with the referral service and end up not getting the specialized care they need, while some referral company lines its pockets with the money these victims could use to get real help.
Similarly, when it comes to legal services, crash victims calling these referral services are not transferred to the firms with the most experience handling motor vehicle cases. As a result, the public suffers because they do not get the required medical treatment or the best legal advise. This is precisely why some of these referral services are being investigated by the Florida Attorney General's Office for "deceptive and misleading advertising".
More Litigation Ahead?
Many expect the new bill to be ineffective because most of the clinics affiliated to these referral services have physicians on staff that could very easily "decide" that the patient has the emergency medical condition that would allow the clinic to continue billing until the $10,000.00 is exhausted. Others argue that the new bill will only prompt more litigation because there is no official definition of what is an emergency medical condition and that therefore, insurance companies will likely label as non-emergencies the conditions of all victims. Either way, only time will tell how effective the new bill will be.
Contact A Lawyer
Don't allow an attorney referral service lead you into wasting the money you need for your recovery. Also, don't let the referral service and/or the clinic send you to a less experienced lawyer just because they have some kind of mutual interest alien to your own.
A simple Google search with terms like "car accidents lawyer" plus a geographical area convenient to you (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Hialeah, etc.) will bring up a list of qualified lawyers who can provide you with a higher level of service. By visiting these lawyers' websites, you can learn as much as you want about their experience. After checking their credentials online, try to talk to those you initially select: preferably in person, but if not possible, over the phone.
Similarly, please note that you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies have their own lawyers and investigators that work very hard against you and begin collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses from the moment the accident was reported. Most insurance companies will only pay the full value of the compensation you may be entitled to if they are forced to do so by your lawyer.
With over 70 years of combined experience, the lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano are ready to help victims of car accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, accidents at amusement parks or any other kind of accidents recover the funds they need for their rehabilitation and daily survival. Please note that our practice has been extended with a new satellite office in Aventura to better serve clients that reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Dania & Dania Beach, Miramar, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Miami Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles and Miami Gardens.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Car AccidentLaw Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have represented many clients involved in car accident cases resulting in serious personal injuries and wrongful death. Please visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.