What to Do if You Have a Florida Car Accident Injury

September 4, 2020
What to Do if You Have a Florida Car Accident Injury

If you have been injured in a car accident it is extremely important to know your rights and responsibilities and by knowing this information it will make the difference between fair compensation and no compensation.

The Florida Legislature and the insurance companies have made an agreement that classifies Florida as a “no-fault” state. That means that insurance companies are required to provide a certain level of coverage for their insured if they are involved in an automobile accident, regardless of fault.

However, the victim of an accident can only bring a successful claim relating to personal injuries against an at-fault party if they have sustained a permanent injury.

The “no-fault” designation requires all Florida drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. There are specific procedures that must be followed in order to file a successful PIP claim. Our experienced and skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Allen and Abaray, P.A. are available to help.

Understanding the 14-Day Rule – Your Claim Depends On It

Very simply, the 14-day rule requires that you seek medical attention for any injuries that resulted from your involvement in a car accident within 14 days of that accident. If you wait longer than 14 days, you may lose your right to file a PIP insurance claim.

Should you suffer any injuries whatsoever – minor or otherwise – as a result of a car accident, be sure to seek medical attention within 14 days. Our best advice is to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

It’s easy to be of the mindset that a minor injury is no big deal and that it will go away on its own or to fall into the trap of a busy life that can’t easily afford the time it takes to see a doctor. Don’t fall into this trap because an injury may get substantially worse as time goes by.

But what about when or if that injury lingers? Or if your condition worsens? By delaying medical treatment you’re putting yourself at tremendous risk of losing what compensation might be owed you. If there’s any doubt whatsoever about whether or not you’ve suffered injuries, seek medical attention within 14 days and contact our office to protect your rights.

Your Florida Car Accident Injury: The 4 Critical Steps to Follow

  1. Seek medical attention within 14 days to preserve your PIP insurance claim rights and opportunities.
  2. Complete a police accident report within 10 days of the accident. The best thing to do is to have police respond to the accident site if there is even the possibility that an injury may have occurred.
  3. Contact a qualified attorney with experience specific to car accident claims. Allen & Abaray, P.A. have nearly 50 years of combined experience handling auto accident claims. Contact our office for a free consultation.
  4. DO NOT sign any documents settling your claim at the accident site or thereafter without consulting your own attorney. Commonly, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will attempt to have you sign documents that will result in a bad settlement for you. It is always in your best interest to refuse to sign and to contact an attorney.

Do I Really Need Medical Attention? It’s Just a Little Sore

Absolutely, you need to seek medical attention after an accident. Oftentimes, with the disorientation, adrenaline and overwhelming feelings of being involved in an accident, people don’t realize that they may in fact have suffered an injury, sometimes even a serious injury.

Delaying medical treatment only increases the chances of complications that could have been avoided.

It’s also extremely important that you establish and document that your injuries were the direct result of the car accident. By seeking medical attention, you’re helping to establish proof that your injuries occurred in the accident. That is a key component in your ability to file a successful PIP claim in Florida.

You can get qualifying medical care from any of the following:

  • Emergency room
  • Urgent care
  • Primary care doctor
  • Specialist doctor
  • Chiropractor
  • Outpatient hospital care
  • Dentist

The key is that you get legitimate medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. It is important to note that seeing a physical therapist, massage therapist, or other care provider not specifically listed in the statute will likely not meet the criteria.

Why Does Florida Have the 14-Day Rule for Car Accident Injuries?

One primary reason for the 14-Day Rule is that insurance companies, including your own insurance company want to pay no money or the least amount of money possible on your accident claim.  By creating a 14-Day Rule if you don’t seek treatment within the period of time they will likely deny paying for treatment later.

Secondly, requiring medical treatment within 14 days of the accident helps to establish the nexus between the accident and any injuries. If you seek immediate medical attention, the link between your injuries and the accident is clearly established. This helps to ensure a valid and accurate claim, which gives you your best chance for success.

Do I Have to File My PIP Claim in Florida Within 14 Days?

Any deadline to file a claim will be specific to your insurance coverage. Generally, your insurance company will allow for a significant period of time – longer than 14 days – to file a claim. The 14-day rule applies to the period of time you have to seek medical attention, not to the amount of time you have to file your claim.

Remember, your first orders of business are to file a police report, see a doctor and find legal representation.

What Kind of Money Am I Owed from My Florida Car Accident Injury?

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) of a minimum of $10,000 is required insurance coverage for all Florida drivers. PIP will pay 80 percent of your medical bills and/or 60 percent of any lost wages up to the limit of your coverage after any deductible. Additionally, PIP can cover the cost of mileage accrued as a result of medical appointments.

Any medical bills or lost wages must be directly tied to the accident, which is why it is critical that you seek medical attention within 14 days and that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to best understand how to proceed in a way that will lead to a successful claim.

Don’t Go It Alone Call Allen & Abaray, P.A. Now.  We Can Help

Your insurance company would love for you not to seek legal representation. Why? Because a study in their own industry found that claimants represented by an attorney typically received more than double the insurance payout as those people who represented themselves.

As with any law, there are myriad complexities, variables and qualifications involved with a PIP insurance claim. Your insurance company spends a lot of money to be sure that they know their rights better than you know your own. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you know everything there is to know. There is too much on the line.

The Law Offices of Allen and Abaray, P.A. are available to assist you in the event of an injury in an automobile accident, and we look forward to serving your needs and guiding you through this difficult process.

If you’ve been in a car accident, please contact us now.