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How Does Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Law Affect My Rights As An Auto Accident Victim?

Getting injured in a motor vehicle accident can have severe consequences, but for the past year, Florida residents have had to contend with more than just dealing with the health issues related to their car accident injuries.

Under changes to Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) laws, which came into effect on January 1, 2013, car accident victims now face a ticking clock that starts from the moment the accident happens. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you have only 14 days in which to get medical treatment in order to file a valid claim for PIP benefits. The treatment must be either obtained in a hospital or an ambulance, or from a physician, osteopathic doctor, chiropractor or dentist, and any follow-up treatment requires a referral from these specific healthcare providers.

While up to $10,000 in PIP medical benefits may be available, you will only be entitled to the full $10,000 in compensation if it is determined that you have an “emergency medical condition.” An emergency medical condition is one that manifests with such severe symptoms that the lack of immediate medical attention will result in serious consequences for a patient’s health, serious impairment of bodily functions or serious damage to an organ or body part. If you are not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, you will be limited to $2,500 in compensation.

While a chiropractor is listed as one of the licensed health professionals from whom you can obtain treatment within the 14 days following your accident, a chiropractor is unable to provide a diagnosis of an emergency medical condition, which basically limits you to $2,500 in benefits if you do not also see another of the specified medical practitioners. In addition, massage and acupuncture treatments are no longer reimbursable under the new laws.

An experienced attorney can help you make your claim and protect your rights. These changes in Florida’s personal injury protection laws make it essential for you to consult a Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident.

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