Your right to medical treatment after an accident may be altered under Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law:
The laws governing your PIP benefits are constantly being revised and in the past few years, have been revised and taken into effect many additional limitations on your PIP coverage. In addition, Florida law does not require insurance companies to inform their policyholders of changes that could affect their auto insurance coverage. This is why it’s crucial to contact Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano immediately following an auto accident so that you are aware of what your rights are and how these changes will affect your situation.
For more information regarding auto insurance policy coverage, read our article on How Car Insurance Works.
Remember: The 14 days following your auto accident are the most important. PIP law requires victims of auto accidents to seek medical treatment within 14 days of their accident to receive PIP benefits. After 14 days, you are not entitled to PIP benefits even though you are required by law to purchase $10,000 PIP coverage.
In order to obtain the full $10,000 in PIP benefits that you are required to purchase in Florida, you would need a physician, osteopathic physician, physician’s assistant, dentist, or advanced registered nurse practitioner to determine that you have an emergency medical condition (EMC). This means that the professional would need to decide whether or not your injury requires immediate attention depending on its severity. Recent PIP laws removed massage therapists and acupuncturists from the list. If you are not diagnosed with an EMC, you will be limited in $2,500 in PIP benefits regardless of how much more you paid for the insurance coverage in the first place.
Remember: Symptoms relating to your accident may not appear immediately. Watch out for numbness, dizziness, and any type of pain within the days following your accident. Also, remember to take pictures of any injuries that you sustained from the crash, such as scrapes, cuts, or bruises. Remember to also document medical expenses related to your accident. If you are a car accident victim, you are allowed to sue the at-fault party in situations where you sustained significant permanent loss of a vital bodily function, scarring, injury, disfigurement, or death.
Insurance companies say that the reason they changed PIP laws regarding the length of time to seek medical treatment following an accident was to prevent insurance fraud. This, however, hurts the insured from receiving their PIP benefits as insurance companies pull coverage away from their policyholders without their knowledge or thorough understanding. The 14-day limitation places a small window for you to seek medical treatment, and therefore may prevent you from trying to seek compensation for your injuries. Because of these complex, unexplained rules that companies put forth, it’s important for you to contact Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., so that your rights are protected and you receive the medical treatment you need.