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Florida Car Accidents: Five Things You Should Know

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were almost 3,000 traffic fatalities in Florida in 2011. While injury in a car or truck accident can be deadly, harm more often takes the form of a minor or serious injury.

Recent legislative changes tightened access to personal injury protection (PIP) insurance after a car wreck in Florida. Consider these points about the new legislation:

  1. In an effort to reduce insurance fraud, the Florida legislature placed restrictions on benefits available to people injured in motor vehicle accidents. The new restrictions went into effect on January 1 of this year.
  2. If you are involved in a car accident, you have 14 days to seek medical attention. While this may seem fair, it is not. Serious neurological injury, such as that related to whiplash injury, may not become apparent until after this window of opportunity.  If you seek medical treatment for car accident injury after 14 days, you will not be compensated by PIP.
  3. In order to receive the full $10,000 compensation available under PIP insurance, you must be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition (EMC). An EMC is considered serious injury or impairment. If you are not diagnosed with an EMC, you may receive a maximum $2,500 for your injury.
  4. Certain alternative health practices like acupuncture and massage therapy are no longer covered under PIP.
  5. Medical care and diagnosis can be provided by a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, dentist or advanced registered nurse practitioner.

The goal of this new legislative measure is to reduce PIP related litigation and insurance fraud by limiting compensation. Time will tell if this measure reduces — or increases — automobile accident-related lawsuits.

If you are injured in a car accident caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another party, see your doctor within 14 days and be sure to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

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