In Florida, You Have 14 Days to Seek Treatment… Seriously!
As a Floridian, you should be aware that state law requires you to carry personal injury protection (PIP or no fault) coverage as part of your auto insurance policy in Florida. This means that if you purchase mandatory coverage, your insurance will pay for 80% of the first $10,000 of your medical bills if you suffer from an emergency medical condition in a car accident, and $2,500 if you do not.
Insurance Tip: Mandatory coverage under the law also covers damage to property like if you hit another vehicle. Mandatory coverage does not cover bodily damage to the other driver if you do not purchase bodily liability in your insurance policy.
However, the law was recently tweaked and now has a major new stipulation. Florida residents only have 14 days to seek treatment following a car accident. This is referred to as “the 14 day rule,” and is unique to the state of Florida.
What treatment counts as initial treatment?
The 14 day rule applies to initial treatment only. Initial treatment is the first medical professional who evaluates you for your car accident injuries following an auto accident. The law specifies which medical professionals count as initial treaters:
- Chiropractors (DC)
- Medical Doctors (MD)
- Doctor of Osteopathy (DO)
- Emergency Transports (EMT)
- Walk-in Clinics
This means that if you treat with a physical therapist, massage therapist, or other medical professional not listed above for your intial treatment during the 14 days following your car accident, then the insurance would not be required to cover the medical bills for treatment needed as a result of the car accident.
Insurance Tip: If you do not seek medical treatment within the 14 day window following your car accident, you will forfeit use of the motorist’s PIP coverage. Insurance companies are no longer required by law to cover the medical expenses of those who wait to get treated, even if symptoms manifest after 14 days.
How does the law define what is and is not an emergency medical condition (EMC)?
The statute regarding EMC is vague and often frustrating, but the impact is huge. Your treating medical professional will opine whether you have suffered an EMC. If they decide you have, you will receive up to $10,000 in PIP benefits. If they decide you have not, you will recover $2,500 in PIP benefits. The initial treating medical professional does not have to make this decision nor does it need to be made within the 14 days following the accident. In fact, the decision can be rendered at any time following the accident.
Who may opine an EMC?
Medical doctors, DO, PA, and advanced registered nurse practitioners may all render an EMC for you. What is important to note is that a chiropractor cannot. A chiropractor may state their patient has not suffered an EMC, but again, cannot affirm an EMC is present.
This part of the law is confusing to many, as it doesn’t really make sense, and was enacted about a minute prior to resetting the law. A challenge to this rule is before the appellate courts in hopes of enacting change.
In a Car Accident? Call Today
Call immediately to schedule chiropractic care if you have been involved in a car accident. A chiropractor will develop a treatment plan if necessary based upon varying factors of your current state of health, including whether you have been involved in a car accident, work injury, slip and fall, sports injury, or other incident.
Our doctors at 22 Health offer a wide range of services and treatment modalities including spinal manipulation and massage therapy by a certified massage therapist. Call (407) 270-2222 to schedule your free consultation for chiropractic care at 22 Health.
Legal Disclaimer: Please note 22 Health Group, LLC are not legal referral services and provide medical services only. 22 Health Group, LLC is not responsible for the outcome of your legal case, nor any relationship you may have with an attorney for any reason.