An Overview of the Florida 14 Day Accident Law
The Florida 14-day accident law requires injured victims to seek medical care within 14 days of a car accident in order to receive Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.
PIP is a form of car insurance that covers some of your medical expenses and other damages such as lost wages and death benefits. However, it does not cover property damage.
Under Florida law, every motorist is required to maintain a minimum amount of PIP insurance coverage. This type of coverage is considered no-fault insurance coverage because the policy holder is entitled to compensation regardless of fault or who caused the accident.
As Florida personal injury attorneys, we recommend that you go to the hospital immediately after a car accident even if you don’t have any visible injuries. Following an accident, you have a rather short window in which you can claim PIP benefits.
Specifically, Florida PIP has a 14-day rule that requires you to seek medical treatment within 14 days of an accident.
If you were recently in a car accident and you are curious about your ability to claim PIP benefits, contact Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon. Our knowledgeable PIP attorneys are happy to answer your questions.
FLORIDA 14 DAY ACCIDENT LAW FAQ
What Type of Medical Care Qualifies?
To qualify under the FL 14-day accident law, you must seek initial services and care from a qualified healthcare provider within two weeks of a car accident if you want to receive benefits through your PIP coverage. Most medical care providers will meet this requirement as long as it is administered by a qualified healthcare provider.
Qualified health care providers include:
- Emergency room providers
- Primary care doctors,
- Chiropractors, and
- Emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
Care that may not qualify includes massage therapy, acupuncture, or any other care that is not specifically listed in the statute.
FLORIDA 14 DAY ACCIDENT LAW FAQ
How Much Coverage is Available Under PIP?
In Florida, PIP benefits are not unlimited. The amount of compensation you can recover under the 14-day rule depends on the severity of your injuries and the limits of your policy.
Florida law requires drivers to carry minimum PIP coverage of:
- $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and
- $5,000 in death benefits.
If you suffered an “emergency medical condition,” you could recover, subject to the PIP policy limits:
- Up to 80% of all expenses for medically necessary services and
- Up to 60% of lost income and earning capacity.
Under the Florida 14-day accident law, an “emergency medical condition” is a serious medical condition that includes severe pain. It will be found by a qualified healthcare provider when the absence of immediate medical attention could result in:
- Serious jeopardy to your health;
- Serious impairment to your bodily functions; or
- Serious dysfunction of any organ or body part.
Under the 14-day insurance law, if you suffer an emergency medical condition, you are able to receive up to the maximum amount of benefits available under your PIP coverage. Florida’s minimum required PIP coverage is $10,000. This means if you suffered an emergency medical condition you will have at least $10,000 of coverage available to you.
If you did not suffer an “emergency medical condition,” your recovery is limited to $2,500 in compensation. Non-emergency injuries might include a bruised arm or leg resulting from a car accident.
However, this determination does not need to be made within 14 days of your accident. You only need to seek medical treatment during that time to potentially qualify.
The personal injury attorneys at Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon can help determine how much you might recover under the Florida 14-day accident law.
What Is the Purpose of the 14-Day Rule?
The 14-day rule exists for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to get the medical treatment you need immediately. Any delay in seeking medical treatment can exacerbate an injury and make it worse.
The second purpose of the 14-day rule is to link the accident to the plaintiff’s insurance claim. This helps authenticate and expedite your insurance claim.
Finally, the implementation of the 14-day insurance law was intended to decrease the amount of PIP fraud. In Florida, PIP fraud is a multi-million dollar problem.
By implementing a two-week cap, the 14-day accident law assumes anyone with real injuries will seek medical treatment within that time frame. In the eyes of the law, a legitimate accident victim will not wait more than two weeks to tend to their injuries.
At Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon we welcome your call to discuss how the 14-day rule might apply to you.
What Should I Do If Injuries Present After the 14-Day Window?
If you were involved in a car accident more than 14 days ago and you have not sought medical treatment, you should speak with an experienced attorney immediately. In Florida, you have 14 days from the date of the accident to seek medical attention for injuries.
If you fail to do so, you will not be entitled to PIP benefits. However, you may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation. In this case, you have four years from the date of the accident to initiate a claim.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
One possible avenue of recourse may be to file a claim. Depending on the circumstance and severity of the accident, an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to identify potentially at-fault parties and initiate a lawsuit for additional damages.
This may include suing for:
- Medical bills,
- Vehicle repairs,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Emotional damages.
If you missed the 14-day window to claim PIP benefits, you may still have a third-party claim.
Why Should You Call a Florida Personal Injury Attorney?
You should call a Florida personal injury attorney anytime you have been in a motor vehicle collision. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you navigate this complex process and make sure you get the results you deserve.
Our personal injury lawyers are some of the most well established in the greater Pensacola, FL, area. We have been helping injured people like you recover the compensation they deserve for over 100 years. Contact or call (850) 444-4878 for a free consultation.