Florida car accident insurance was already confusing. Now, with the changes to Florida's No-Fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, it is even more confusing.
In a previous article, I discussed the importance of seeing a doctor within 14 days of your accident. If you fail to see a medical provider within 14 days, you are not entitled to any of the $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage you contracted for. However, satisfying that requirement does not guarantee that you get all your benefits.
Now, the law requires that you must be diagnosed with an "emergency medical condition" in order to be entitled to the $10,000 in PIP benefits you paid for. Florida Statute 627.732(16) defines an emergency medical condition as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain. Without seeking immediate medical attention, your medical condition could result in any of the following:
- Serious jeopardy to your health;
- Serious impairment to bodily functions;
- Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.
If the appropriate health-care professional determines that you suffered from an emergency medical condition, then you can receive reimbursement for all medical services and care up to your $10,000 PIP limit. If, instead, you're found to have a non-emergency medical condition, then your PIP benefits are limited to only $2,500-even though you contracted for $10,000 in PIP benefits.
It is important to know who can determine if a person's condition is, in fact, an emergency medical condition. The law prohibits chiropractors from making this determination (albeit, they have hands-on knowledge of their patient's condition). The law states that medical doctors, osteopaths, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, podiatrist and even dentists can make this diagnosis. Without it, an injured person is limited to $2,500 in PIP benefits.
This change will like prompt much litigation--the treating doctor will opine that the patient has an emergency medical condition while the hired-gun insurance doctor will conclude otherwise in hopes of restricting the insured's benefits to $2,500.00.
It is important that if you or a friend or family member is involved in a Florida automobile accident, they need to talk to an attorney who understands this new law immediately after the crash. Waiting too long can risk the benefits they are entitled to.
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. His Clearwater law firm – Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.