Archive for November, 2012

Florida’s New PIP Law

New Florida PIP Law: A Victory for the Car Insurance Companies

Port St. Lucie injury attorney discusses Florida’s new Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law HB 119, passed by a slim margin in the Florida Senate on March 10, 2012.  The new PIP law is considered a victory for insurance companies as there are now several provisions placing limits on the amount of PIP benefits, litigation and monies paid out for claims that are the result of auto accidents.

Port St Lucie Personal Injury Attorney

Leonard S. Villafranco P.A.
(772) 871-6441 or (772) 288-7338

Auto insurance companies believe that personal injury protection lawsuits are the cause of insurance rates on the climb.  Florida is a no-fault state and requires all drivers to carry the basic PIP insurance with limits of $10,000.00 in coverage.  However the present law lacks restrictions on types of medical treatments covered or on attorney fee limits.  This system is, according to the insurance companies, full of loopholes and flaws and was in need of reform.  Their position was that old system allowed for “frivolous medical treatment” and “opportunities for needless litigation”.

What does the new PIP law provide for care accident victims?

This new bill provides strict and rather unfair definitions of what constitutes medical treatments and covered injuries.  Under the new PIP law, accident victims must seek medical treatment within an extreme timeline of 14 days (two week) from the date of the accident.  Further, your medical treatment is only permitted from specified licensed medical physicians.  Acceptable treatment providers include emergency services determined by a physician, osteopath, dentist, physician’s assistant or registered nurse practitioner.  Chiropractor visits are now limited to $2,500 and can only be used after a referral from a suitable health care provider.

The new law excludes massage therapists and acupuncturists, which were previously covered under the old PIP law.  The severe nature of the new Florida PIP law greatly cuts the funds available for those injured in auto accidents and is troublesome to many consumer protection advocates.  The law also greatly limits the types of treatments covered under PIP.  Those who seek a more holistic, less intrusive type of treatment are left out all together by the new law, a disturbing reality to many.  Florida Auto accident victims will be forced to rely on their health insurance rather than the $10,000 of medical benefits they were previously entitled to receive.

The new bill contains provisions for the reduction of consumer rates, which seems like a victory for the consumers.  However the bill brings about a plan for insurers to reduce rates only 10% by October 1, 2013 and 25% by January 1, 2014 or they are to provide a “detailed explanation” as to why the rates were not reduced.  The proposed rate reduction does not seem to equal out in policy premiums, a questionable fact which has left many consumer advocates puzzled.  As the PIP coverage accounts for a relatively small percentage of a total insurance premium, the 25% reduction is rather insignificant.

If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you must contact your medical provider within 14 days.  Then call Stuart or Port St. Lucie auto accident attorney Leonard S. Villafranco at (772) 288-7338 or (772) 871-6441.

Baby Boomers and the Gray Divorce Revolution

For two decades, the divorce rate among baby boomers has grown by more than 50 percent.  A recent research study from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, called “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” predicted that the number of divorces for couples older than age 50 could easily surpass 800,000 per year by 2030.  In comparison, more than 600,000 people, age 50 and older got divorced in 2009 — or one in four; while in 1990, only one in 10 couples aged 50 and older got divorced.

The Law Office of Leonard S. Villafranco, P.A.
(772) 871-6441 or (772) 288-7338

That study also found those over 50 in a second or third marriage (as opposed to a first) has a 150 percent greater likelihood of divorcing.  Over the past several years, we have seen an increase in older clients coming to the Law Office of Leonard S. Villafranco and filing for divorce.  It is quite fascinating to see research that explains this rather new circumstance.

So what is it that is causing older couples to divorce?  After researching the “gray divorce revolution,” the study explains that some reasons for this unexpected increase in baby boomers divorcing are the economy, relationship history and the current views of marriage and divorce in today’s society.

The amount of women in the workforce has also increased exponentially within the past few decades.  Women now have a source of income and the option to support themselves rather than stay in a less-than-satisfying marriage.  The AARP recently released a study that found approximately 67 percent of older-adult divorces are actually initiated by women.

“In my professional experience, I have found that if a person has been divorced before, they are more likely to divorce again,” says Mr. Villafranco, a Stuart, FL divorce attorney.  The study found that more than half of the divorces of those aged 50 and above were already in remarriages.  Your relationship history can have a significant effect on your potential to divorce.  America’s divorce rate is one of the highest in the world.  This tells us that divorce is not taboo anymore and has become more of a norm in American culture.   The study found that society’s view of marriage and divorce has influenced the increase in divorces among older couples.

With the growing acceptance of divorce and the shift in society’s expectations of marriage, divorce has become the accepted solution to providing individual happiness among baby boomers who are not satisfied with their marriage.  Sociologists, as well as divorce attorneys in Port St. Lucie and Stuart, FL, believe that this growing trend in older couples divorcing will continue to develop.  Will the idea of “growing old together” completely disappear with this new movement?

If you have questions about divorce or the Martin and St. Lucie County family courts system, contact the family law offices of Leonard S. Villafranco P.A. at (772) 288-7338 or (772) 871-6441 for your private consultation.

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