The Importance of Seeing a Doctor Immediately after a Florida Auto Accident
The Personal Injury Protection (PIP) revised legislation that took effect on January 1, 2013 was introduced under the guise of reducing insurance fraud and premiums. However, many of its provisions can adversely affect the ability of auto accident victims to obtain just compensation for their injuries. More than ever, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention after an auto accident — and seek skilled legal assistance to help ensure your rights are preserved when you file a claim.
The new law introduced a number of provisions affecting all players involved in the payment of medical claims. However, the following amendments directly affect auto accident injury victims:
- Individuals seeking PIP medical benefits must receive initial services and care within 14 days after an accident. If you do not notice symptoms until the 15th day, your PIP coverage most likely no longer applies.
- Only victims found to have an emergency medical condition as defined by law can receive up to $10,000 in medical benefits.
- Without an emergency medical condition diagnosis, victims can receive only $2,500 or less, with no reimbursement for massage and acupuncture permitted.
- Follow-up services must apply to the underlying medical diagnosis at the time of initial treatment and care.
Pay particular attention to the last provision, which essentially negates the effects of delayed-onset injuries, which you may not notice until after your initial visit. In other words, make sure you report every ache or pain to the doctor, and take the time to describe anything that may have happened that could potentially cause injury. For example, using your hand to brace yourself against impact could result in wrist injuries. Similarly, your doctor needs to immediately know if your back twisted or your neck snapped back and forth during the collision, even if you have no pain as of the first visit.
Naturally, if you suffer severe injuries, your first priority is to go straight to your doctor or to the emergency room. However, with the new PIP legislation in place, it can make sense to talk with an experienced Florida auto accident lawyer before you see a doctor. An attorney can provide important advice on how to protect your rights during your initial medical visit.