After a car accident in Tampa, you need to act quickly if you want PIP benefits – specifically, 14 days. Read on to learn more about Florida’s “14-day rule” and why it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible following a car accident.
Tampa’s 14-Day Limit for PIP Eligibility
Florida is a no-fault state, so that means your PIP will cover accident damages, regardless of whose fault the accident was. All drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of PIP coverage in their auto insurance policy.
PIP covers medical bills for the policyholder, no matter whose fault the accident was. However, PIP will only pay up to the limit of the policyholder’s limit.
In order to be eligible to receive PIP coverage benefits, you must seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident. If you wait longer than two weeks to get medical attention, your PIP claim could be denied. Even if you went to get medical care on the 15th day, that’s still too late. The key takeaway here is to get medical attention as soon as you are able to after getting injured in a Tampa motor vehicle collision.
If you end up waiting longer than 14 days to get medical attention and then find out you have a serious injury, like a traumatic brain injury, the PIP claim may get denied since you didn’t get medical attention within the 14-day window. Even if your injuries were clearly caused by the accident, failure to get medical attention in time could mean you lose the right to get PIP coverage. That means you’ll be stuck dishing out all of the expenses out of pocket for the medical care you need from accident injuries.
Specific Tampa Laws for Getting Medical Treatment After a Car Accident
Not only must you get treatment within 14 days to be eligible for PIP benefits, but you also need to abide by other specifications. For instance, the care that you receive must be administered by a licensed physician and be lawfully provided, supervised, ordered, or prescribed. Thereafter, any specific treatment you receive must be prescribed by a specialist in that field, which correlates with their respective licenses according to Florida Statutes.
For example, physicians in Tampa are licensed under Florida Statute, chapter 458, while chiropractic physicians are licensed under Chapter 460.
Note the important detail here that the initial care you receive must be from a licensed medical professional in a hospital or facility that is owned by a hospital. Alternatively, emergency transportation and treatment professionals licensed under Chapter 401 can provide bonafide medical care for car accident injury victims.
There Is a Time Limit to File a Tampa Personal Injury Claim
If you’ve gone to see a doctor within 14 days of the accident, you have a little more leeway now when it comes to filing a claim with the insurance company. While it is better to do it sooner than later, you need to be sure you’re ready and make careful deliberations and prepare before you file a claim.
For instance, you’ll want to be ready to speak with an insurance claims adjuster and know what to say or what not to say. You can also get a copy of the official accident report as well as any medical documentation on file related to your accident injuries.
Here’s the bottom line: you need to get medical care right away after an accident, whether you want your own insurance carrier to pay through your PIP or you wish to file a claim with the other party’s insurance. If you missed the 14-day limit and are unsure of what to do next, you can still file a personal injury claim with the help of a Tampa personal injury lawyer.
Why Is It So Important to Get Medical Attention Right Away After a Tampa Car Accident
Aside from the time constraints, there are rogue reasons that make it vital for anyone with a car accident injury to get immediate medical care. The obvious reason is to ensure your health is in good standing and you don’t let your injury worsen. Another reason is that you comply with your policy provider’s PIP requirements. Here are a few more reasons why you should try to get medical care as soon as possible after an accident:
- By getting medical care as soon as possible, you can rule out any other injuries and get a clear and accurate idea of what sort of injuries you have. You may not feel pain right away or have very obvious symptoms of an injury, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t hurt. For instance, traumatic brain injuries and internal organ injuries won’t show obvious signs or be apparent right away.
- A car accident is a traumatic event that can leave anyone shaken up and in shock. A traumatic event of this caliber can cause undue duress on the vehicle occupants, so it’s important to get mental health care as well to ensure you are emotionally stable. Many people experience PTSD, anxiety, depression, or other unwanted psychological conditions due to the traumatic car accident.
- Getting medical care will create a documented record of your injuries and create a medical report you can use as evidence for your personal injury case. This will be an essential piece of evidence later when you want to seek compensation for your injuries and need to provide evidence to support your claim. It will also help calculate the cost of your medical expenses so you know how much to claim as compensation.
Car Accident Injuries Often Have a Delayed Onset
Sometimes, the most serious injuries that result from a car accident take time to occur and don’t appear right away. In fact, many injury symptoms appear late, sometimes days, or even weeks after the accident. Two of the most frequently occurring car accident injuries are also two that can take a while to appear: soft-tissue injuries (e.g., whiplash) and traumatic brain injuries (e.g., concussion).
Even if you don’t think your injury is severe or that they are not serious enough to require medical care, you still need to get them checked out. Only a doctor can administer the proper testing and assessment to determine if you are seriously injured or not. This is particularly important for less visible injuries that can cause immense damage.
What Medical Services Can I Get Through PIP in Tampa
Personal injury protection is mandatory in Florida. It will cover your medical expenses up to a certain amount, regardless of who caused the crash or is responsible for your injuries. Remember, in order to be eligible for your PIP benefits, you must seek medical care within 14 days of the accident.
PIP insurance coverage would cover medical services like emergency room treatment, ambulance expenses, testing and imaging such as x-rays or CT scans, primary care physician appointments, dental bills, physical therapy, rehabilitative services, surgery, prescription medications, mental health counseling, and more.
If you seek treatment from a non-approved provider, the insurance company may not accept your claim or refuse to cover your treatment costs.
How a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You
A car accident is a stressful event. But the aftermath can be even more stressful since you’re injured and trying to navigate a legal process on top of your personal life. To save yourself a lot of time and energy, it’s best to seek out the services of a knowledgeable and experienced Tampa car accident attorney. They have handled numerous cases like yours and are familiar with the process as well as the challenges of car accident cases involving delayed medical treatment.
Insurance is legally required to process claims fairly, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, they employ unfair tactics like intentionally dragging out the claim or unfairly denying a claim. They are also notorious for offering settlements that are on the verge of insultingly low. At its worst, an insurance company could even engage in bad faith practices such as knowingly providing false information about their policies or misleading injury victims about their policies. Sometimes, they deny claims without giving a valid explanation as to why.
You might be able to tell where this is going. If you wait too long to get medical treatment, the insurance company might assert that you didn’t get medical attention soon enough and, therefore, your injuries are unrelated to the accident or not as serious as you claim.
Call a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Our Tampa personal injury lawyers are committed to helping clients navigate complex insurance claims processes. We will see to it that you get the compensation you deserve with compassion and empathy. And we’ll fight aggressively to get you a win. If you need assistance disputing a claim or filing a bad faith claim, we can look at your case details and advise on whether you have grounds for a claim.
We offer a free initial consultation, so call us today.