After a car accident, you have 14 days to present yourself to a qualified medical technician (chiropractor, medical doctor, nurse practitioner, etc) as stated in Florida’s Personal Injury Protection law. Otherwise, you will not qualify for the $10,000 in benefits that you pay for with your car insurance.
Why Do I Need to See a Doctor Within 14 Days After a Car Accident?
Under the 2013 PIP law change, an accident victim must get ‘initial services and care’ within 14 days (2 weeks) of a motor vehicle accident if they want to receive the full $10,000 in PIP benefits. Almost any type of medical attention will meet this requirement, as long as it comes from a qualified healthcare provider, or a qualified health care provider supervised or prescribed the care.
Who Can Evaluate Me After a Car Accident to Get the Full PIP Benefits?
- medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.)
- registered nurse
- nurse practitioner
- physician’s assistant
It is important to note that seeing a physical therapist, massage therapist or another alternative care provider not listed in the statute will likely not meet the criteria. Your insurance company will likely deny your claim and you will not receive benefits.
It is always a good idea to go to the walk-in clinic or emergency room or see your doctor as soon as possible after a crash. This will ensure you are healthy and will meet the standard for the Florida PIP 14-day Rule.
Can I Get My Massages Reimbursed After a Car Accident?
In addition to those injured, massage therapists and acupuncturists will no longer be allowed to treat patients under PIP. An even greater threat to Florida citizens is that the law does not require insurance companies to notify policyholders that changes are forthcoming, effectively pulling coverage away from them without their knowledge or understanding.
What Amounts Can Be Reimbursed for My Medical Bills After an Auto Accident?
The new law also creates two different amounts that can be reimbursed to an individual seeking PIP benefits. The resulting amount depends on whether or not that person has been diagnosed with an emergency medical condition or EMC.
For example, say that a physician, osteopathic physician, dentist, physician’s assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner has determined that an injured person has an emergency medical condition. Then that person will be allowed to obtain the full $10,000 in PIP benefits.
An EMC is defined as a medical condition that can be recognized from symptoms reach a level of seriousness. Specifically, if a person’s symptoms are severe enough that without immediate medical attention, it could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part.
An injured person who is not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition (EMC) will be limited to $2,500 in PIP benefits even though the injured person pays for $10,000 in benefits through their insurance policy.
Should I Avoid Medical Attention to Avoid Medical Bills?
For a multitude of reasons, avoiding medical attention after an accident is never smart. Being afraid of high medical expenses, for example, is a reason to seek treatment – not to avoid it – because that treatment could cost you much more in the future. If you’re anxious about missing work, you’ll miss much more if your condition later becomes serious.
After a traffic collision, seek medical attention at once. If you get a ‘clean bill of health’ you’ll also get peace of mind. And if you’ve suffered an injury, discuss your legal rights and options as quickly as possible with a personal injury attorney you can trust.
What Is an Emergency Medical Condition After a Florida Auto Accident?
Emergency medical conditions can have an effect on how much your Florida PIP insurance claim is worth. The statute outlines EMCs as a situation where a victim is suffering from serious symptoms that require immediate help to prevent:
- Putting their health and wellbeing in danger
- Damage to a major body function
- Serious defects to any organ or body part
It is a good idea to discuss any issues like this with your doctor. They can note in your charts that you suffered an emergency medical condition. This could also strengthen your case for a better overall case outcome.
It is important to note that there does not have to be a determination of whether your injury is an ’emergency medical condition’ within the first 14 days after an accident. As long as you seek medical care within the first two weeks, you should be eligible for some type of payout from your PIP insurance provider.
What Are Some Common Myths About Medical Bills After a Florida Car Accident?
There are some misconceptions about how much PIP actually covers. It covers 80% and does not necessarily pay all of the bills. This leaves a 20% co-pay. PIP coverage pays the reasonable customary charges for medical treatment for injuries causally related to the accident.
If, for example, an individual injured their neck in an accident and it still hurts three days later but is not related to the accident, their PIP coverage is not going to pay for it.
PIP coverage only pays for those symptoms of injuries that were caused by the accident. Even for the injuries causally related to the accident, Personal Injury Protection will only pay 80 percent of the bills.
Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the specifics of your case and decide whether you need legal representation. The attorney you hire could make the difference between getting a settlement that barely covers your expenses and a settlement (or verdict) that pays all of your bills and allows you to get back to living your life.
Tampa Auto Accident Attorney Martin J. Hernandez
Attorney Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez in Tampa provides legal representation for families in auto accident injury and wrongful death cases. our Tampa personal injury attorneys welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your loved ones.
We invite you to review our recent results from settlements to trial verdicts. Our qualifications and background are available to you as well. Our Tampa Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez is bilingual as well. Just call us at 813-229-5353 or get started on our website for your free consultation.
The Tampa personal injury lawyers serve Florida communities including Tampa, Brandon, Carrollwood, Westchase, Riverview, Temple Terrace, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Lakeland, Plant City, Ruskin, Apollo Beach, Dover, Valrico, Lutz, Lakeland, and many other neighborhoods in Tampa Bay area. Contact an Experienced Tampa Auto Accident Attorney from Fernandez & Hernandez Law.