14 Day Rule

Doctor

A recent change in Florida law requires automobile accident victims to act fast or risk losing any chance to claim personal injury protection (PIP) awards from your insurance company. As of Jan. 1, 2013, auto accident victims have 14 days to seek medical treatment or otherwise forfeit any coverage for PIP coverage. Florida law requires you to pay for $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage, but if you delay in seeking appropriate medical care, you may find yourself unable to claim anything.

 

Because of the requirements the new law puts on medical professionals, many family doctors won’t treat auto accident victims. Doctors that treat accident victims must deal with billing the insurance company, saving and producing medical records and if necessary, testifying in court, which is a hassle that many don’t want to put up with. Because of this, family doctors often refer victims to chiropractors. However, under recent changes in the law, chiropractors aren’t allowed to diagnosis emergency medical conditions.

All drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection to cover injury and lost wages that result from an auto accident. Regardless of who was at fault, PIP will cover up to 80 percent of their injuries and 60 percent of their lost wages. Usually PIP won’t cover all of the medical costs and lost wages. Property damage and compensation for pain, suffering or other damage isn’t covered either.

In order to receive the full $10,000 in benefits, the victim must be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, or EMC. Only a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, dentist or advance registered nurse practitioner can diagnosis an EMC. Injuries must show acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which can include severe pain, in order to qualify as an emergency medical condition. The injuries must be reasonably expected to result in either serious jeopardy to patient health, impairment to bodily functions, or dysfunction of any body part or organ.

Since the new laws prohibits chiropractors from making this determination, it is crucial for accident victims to seek the right kind of treatment in the days immediately following their injuries. After the initial visit, patients may seek follow up care, which can include the help of a chiropractor.  Victims that aren’t diagnosed with an emergency medical condition can only receive a maximum of $2,500 of the $10,000 in personal injury protection benefits that they paid for. Massage therapy and acupuncture can no longer be covered under personal injury protection.

These laws can be confusing without the help of an experienced attorney to guide you through the potential pitfalls that can reduce or completely take away your available insurance coverage.  Contact Ray for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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