If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, you might be tempted to wait to seek medical care to see if your injuries get worse. Unfortunately, in Florida that is not always a good idea because of the 14-day rule.
In this brief article, a car accident personal injury lawyer in Tampa from our team at Inkelaar Law shares when you need to know about the 14-day rule in Florida and how to protect your right to medical care following a car accident.
Before we talk about the 14-day rule, it’s important to understand that Florida is a “no-fault” state. That means that Florida’s No-Fault Motor Vehicle Law requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage as part of their auto insurance, which pays the insured’s bills, regardless of fault, up to the limit of the insurance.
But, regardless of fault or insurance coverage, there is a time limit to seeking care to be covered by the insurance, and that’s where the 14-day rule comes in.
In Florida, the 14-day rule is a requirement that you seek medical attention within 14 days after a car accident. Let’s say that you decide to wait and see how you’re feeling and don’t get medical attention within 14 days (or two weeks) of the accident. On the 15th day you decide to go to the doctor because you just don’t seem to be feeling better, and at the doctor, you find out you’ve got a fractured rib. Because you didn’t get medical care during that 14 day window, your PIP claim can actually be denied, even though the injury was caused by the accident. That means that you’re stuck footing the bill for your medical care without legal recourse.
Further, Florida Law specifies that you must be treated by:
“Initial services and care that are lawfully provided, supervised, ordered, or prescribed by a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459, a dentist licensed under chapter 466, a chiropractic physician licensed under chapter 460, or an advanced practice registered nurse registered under s. 464.0123 or that are provided in a hospital or in a facility that owns, or is wholly owned by, a hospital. Initial services and care may also be provided by a person or entity licensed under part III of chapter 401 which provides emergency transportation and treatment.”
Once you’ve been to the doctor within the 14-day window, when to file the claim with the insurance company is ultimately your decision. However, it’s important that you have a few details ready for when you do file your claim. For example, having a police report and access to your medical records can be helpful.
If you’re interested in filing an injury claim in Florida, whether with your own insurance carrier as a PIP claim or with the other party’s insurance carrier for other types of medical payments, a car accident attorney in Tampa can help. If you have been injured in an accident and are interested in filing a personal injury case, contact Inkelaar Law in Tampa today.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, please give us a call for free consultation at (813) 722-0622, or submit our consultation request form.