Importance of Timely Medical Care and Evaluation
The State of Florida has specific laws in place that govern automobile insurance, medical care, and compensation. Some of these laws and regulations involve what has been termed Florida No-Fault Law. It should be noted that a person, business entity, and government entity can be held at fault for an automobile, trucking, or motorcycle accident that cause personal injuries. The "No-Fault" part of the law does not necessarily mean that there is no liability or responsibility for a car crash. It does, however, set some rules and parameters as to how personal injury cases are handled and tried in the State of Florida.
It is important that that injury vicim in an automobile, motorcycle, and trucking accident get timely medical care. It should also be noted that accidents or incidents involving motorcycles are handled slightly different that accidents or incidents involving only motor vehicles. The owner of a motorcycle does not have a duty to have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance.
In 2013, the Florida Legislature changed the law as it pertained to PIP. The Florida Legislature added a time limit in which an injury victim receive initial services and care for personal injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident or crash. In particular, Section 627.736 (1) (a), Florida Statutes provides for payment of:
(a) Medical benefits.-Eighty percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical, surgical, X-ray, dental, and rehabilitative services, including prosthetic devices and medically necessary ambulance, hospital, and nursing services if the individual receives initial services and care pursuant to subparagraph 1. within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident.
As such, to qualify for PIP (Personal Injury Protection) benefits, an injury victim must be evaluated by a medical provider within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident. Otherwise, the rights to PIP (Personal Injury Protection) as a payment source for medical bills will essentially be waived. Under most Florida PIP policies, there is a maximum benefit of $10,000. As such, there could be up to $10,000 available to pay for medical bills related to automobile accident related personal injuries.
Another provision that was added in 2013 is located in Section 627.736 (8), Florida Statutes as follows:
(8) "Emergency medical condition" means:
(a) A medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:
- Serious jeopardy to patient health, including a pregnant woman or fetus.
- Serious impairment to bodily functions.
- Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.
Another reason for an injury victim to seek timely medical care is to get evaluated for a potential Emergency Medical Condition. If the injury victim is deemed to have an Emergency Medical Condition, then the injury victim will qualify for up to $10,000 for the payment of medical bills under the PIP automobile insurance policy. If the injury victim DOES NOT have what is deemed an Emergency Medical Condition, then the injury victim may be limited to up to only $2,500 for the payment of medical bills under the PIP automobile insurance policy.
Certainly, it is important to have a payment source (when possible) for medical bills through the PIP policy. However, the PIP laws are not the only laws as they pertain to automobile accident cases and the payment of medical expenses. It is also important for an injury victim to get timely medical care to establish as soon as possible the base line of the medical conditions following the automobile accident. Over time, the medical providers can then evaluate the ongoing condition as compared to the base line condition.
David A. Wolf is a Florida Personal Injury Attorney with over 30 years of experience handling automobile accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. He provides a FREE CONSULTATION on all personal injury cases. He strongly believes in Giving a Voice to Injury Victims and Their Families. He is the author of a number of books focusing on personal injury matters including the book titled Bikes, Trikes and Automobiles - Legal Rights of the Injured Cyclist and the book titled When the Wheels Stop Spinning - Legal Rights of the Injured Child - What Parents Need to Know After the Accident.