The Florida Supreme Court recently issued an opinion in the case of Nunez v. GEICO (38 Fla. L. Weekly S440) that interprets part of the new PIP (Personal Injury Protection) statute that took effect January 1, 2013. Part of the new PIP law allows your insurance company to require that you attend an “examination under oath” prior to the insurance company making any payments towards your medical bills or lost wages. This is very different from in the past and strays from the security that Florida’s PIP law used to provide in that your PIP benefits would pay up to $10,000 for your medical bills or lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, with little other requirements. Now, in order to receive full PIP benefits, you must seek treatment within 14 days of the accident from certain medical professionals and will be limited to $2,500 in PIP coverage, unless your injuries qualify as an “emergency medical condition.” Additionally, your insurance company may require that you sit for an examination under oath where the insurance company can question you regarding the facts of the accident and the injuries that were suffered before extending benefits- and this is the part of the statute that was recently reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court.
The Court ruled that this part of the statute cannot be applied retroactively. This means that the requirement to attend an examination under oath cannot be used in accidents that occurred prior to January 1, 2013. The Court found that this new part of the statute was substantive change in the law and therefore cannot be applied backwards and can only be applied moving forward from the date the law took effect. This is a small victory for policy holders as insurance companies will not be allowed to alter their insured’s previous rights they have to their PIP benefits prior to January 1, 2013. If you’ve been injured in an accident, it is important to move quickly to have your injuries or symptoms checked out so that you can receive the full benefits of your insurance policy. Givens Givens Sparks is familiar with the new changes to the laws affecting drivers in Florida and we encourage you to call if you’ve been injured in an accident for a free case evaluation and to receive other free important information about your rights.