No matter where you live, a car accident can leave you physically and financially devastated. Painful injuries can interfere with your ability to work and lead to a mound of medical claims as you try to heal.
In Florida, however, rules involving that state's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance make it extremely important for car accident victims to seek medical attention for any potential injuries quickly. Otherwise, it can become very difficult (if not impossible) to recover fair compensation for your losses. Here's what you need to know.
What is the 14-Day PIP Rule in Florida?
PIP insurance is a type of minimum insurance that every driver licensed in the state is required to carry. It provides coverage for medical expenses and your related loss of income from work. After a wreck, PIP insurance is supposed to pay first — before any claim against the other driver's insurance company is brought.
PIP is essentially "no-fault" insurance. However, there's a catch: Victims are only given a mere 14 days under the law after their accident to seek "initial services and care" for their injuries. Also, the amount you can ultimately recover from your PIP insurance is based on whether or not your injuries are deemed severe enough to be an emergency medical condition.
How Much Can You Recover From Your PIP Insurance?
If your injuries aren't considered an emergency, you are limited to a maximum of $2,500 from your PIP coverage. If your condition is considered an emergency, you can obtain the full amount of the policy. Minimum coverage for PIP insurance in Florida is $10,000, although many people choose to buy larger policies.
Emergency medical conditions are things like:
- Any situation or condition that you fear might put your health and wellbeing in danger without treatment
- Any injury that impairs a major bodily function, such as your ability to see, walk, talk, or use your limbs
- Any serious concern about a body part or internal organ, such as you might have with an injury to the head that might cause a brain bleed or a seat belt injury to your stomach
Unfortunately, PIP insurers are often eager to limit or deny car accident claims by claiming that you didn't seek appropriate medical care within that 14-day limit or that your injuries were not really an emergency.
Talk to an Auto Accident Attorney About Your Claim
If you're struggling to get an insurance company to see reason about your losses after a car accident, don't try to handle the issue on your own. Find out how an auto accident lawyer can help.