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The State of Florida has some of the most unique auto insurance laws in the country and to be honest; because some of the language used in them is rather vague, from a legal standpoint, they are a constant source of contrasting opinions and drawn out litigation. One of the worst is Florida Statute 627.736, which covers the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of your no-fault insurance policy.

As I am sure that you are aware, to operate a motor vehicle, whether it is a car or truck, in the State of Florida you are required by law to hand over your money to insurance companies and purchase at least a minimum amount of no-fault insurance. PIP is part of that mandatory coverage.

The original idea behind PIP was to make sure that you, the consumer, would have access to emergency medical treatment if you are involved in a car accident. Under the majority of policies, you are guaranteed $10,000 worth of medical coverage provided you seek treatment for an “emergency medical condition” within 14 days of the accident. That phrase that is highlighted above is where the fly gets in the ointment, so to speak.

You don’t necessarily get what you paid for.

Insurance companies, being the sterling characters that they are, have argued that actually providing people with the coverage they have paid for has opened the door for too much insurance fraud and that they are having to pay to many claims for the treatment of what are in fact, not emergency conditions.

Because of this, the law was amended and now there is $2500 cap on what your insurance is required to pay if your condition is determined not to be an emergency. It doesn’t matter how long you have had your policy or how much you have paid in, nonemergency benefits will be limited to the cap, even though you have been paying for the 10k in coverage.

As with so many things in the law, the secret to safeguarding your rights comes down to documentation. As mentioned above, you only have 14 days to seek treatment from the time of your accident, but more importantly, the longer you wait, the more likely it becomes that your insurance company will argue that your condition was not an emergency. This leaves the door open for them to deny you 75% of the benefits that are rightfully yours, bought and paid for.

Where can you seek treatment?

The best thing you can do is, as we have advised before; seek immediate medical attention if you are involved in an auto accident. If an ambulance is called get in it and go to the hospital. If you are asked if you would like an ambulance to be called always say yes. Your PIP will pay for it and you will start establishing a paper trail to protect your benefits as well as strengthen your position for any future personal injury cases.

If you fail to go directly to the emergency room following the accident, you can seek medical treatment from any of the recognized sources listed below.

  • Doctor
  • Hospital
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Physicians Assistant
  • Walk In Clinic

There are no small injuries.

Many times following an auto accident people will discount the little aches and pains they feel. This isn’t surprising considering the shock and adrenalin rush the many times accompanies and accident.

What you need to keep in mind is that small headache you’re experiencing may be a sign of a life altering brain injury. That sore muscle in your back or neck could be a sign of a much more serious injury. The accident may, in fact, might be preventing you from realizing the extent of your injuries. Only qualified medical personnel can decide how severely you were or were not hurt.

If you have been involved in an auto accident always seek professional medical attention as soon as possible to protect your health and the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights.

If you are in the Melbourne, Florida area I would more than happy to assist you in any way that I can. I am Brad Sinclair of Sinclair Law where we go the extra mile for you.