If you’re a Florida driver, you may have heard of the 14-day rule. Under Florida’s no-fault system, you have 14 days to seek medical attention after a car accident. The time deadline is a requirement to make a claim for compensation through your no-fault, personal injury protection insurance. All Florida drivers should be familiar with the 14-day rule so that they can take full advantage of their personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. Our skilled Tampa car accident attorneys discuss the Florida 14-day rule.
What Is the 14-Day Rule?
The 14-day rule is a requirement that you seek medical attention within 14 days after a car accident in Florida. If you don’t go to a doctor or otherwise get medical care within two weeks of the accident, you can’t file a PIP insurance claim. Even if you have physical injuries, the 14-day rule says that to get compensation for your medical bills, you must first get medical attention within 14 days of when the accident occurs.
Why Does the 14-Day Rule Exist?
The 14-day rule exists for two reasons: First, waiting to get medical attention can make an injury worse. The sooner you get professional medical treatment, the sooner you can minimize your injuries and prevent complications.
Second, proving the nexus between the accident and your injuries is a critical part of making an insurance claim. When you get medical treatment right away, the link between the car accident and your injuries is clear. The 14-day rule exists to help car accident victims get the treatment they need and to ensure that accident claims are valid and accurate.
How Long Do You Have to File a PIP Claim in Florida?
How long you have to file a PIP claim in Florida depends on the terms of your insurance contract. In most cases, the insurance company gives you a significant period of time to file the claim. However, there are a few things that you need to do quickly for your claim to succeed.
First, the police must respond to the scene, or you must complete a police accident report within 10 days of the accident. Second, you must seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident. Once you’ve done both of those things, how long you have to file a PIP claim in Florida depends on what’s stated in your insurance contract.
Do I Need Immediate Medical Attention After an Accident?
Yes, you need immediate medical attention after an accident. When adrenaline is running high after a crash, you may have serious injuries that you don’t realize. It’s important to get medical attention quickly to address your injuries and mitigate complications.
In addition, you need to establish that your injuries are a result of the accident. Seeking medical care helps prove that you received the injuries as a result of the accident. Immediate medical attention helps you protect yourself and your rights after an accident.
Getting Medical Attention After a Florida Car Accident
Florida law 627.726  creates the rules for getting medical care after a car accident. The law says that the insurance company must provide compensation under the insurance agreement with a driver as long as the victim gets initial medical services and care within 14 days of the accident. You can get medical care from any of the following:
- Primary care doctor
- Specialist doctor
- Medical services provided in a hospital
- Urgent care
- Emergency room
- Outpatient facility run by a hospital
- EMTs (emergency transportation and management)
If you seek medical care within the required time limits, the insurance company must cover 80 percent of your medically necessary care up to the limits of the insurance policy. For people with the minimum insurance limits, they pay up to $10,000 for medical bills if you have an emergency medical condition. If you don’t have an emergency medical condition, you can receive up to $2,500 for bills related to your medical care. Remember to look at your own insurance policy limits. Your insurance limits may be higher than the minimum.
Florida Law 395.002(8) and Emergency Medical Conditions
Florida law 395.002(8)  defines an emergency medical condition as a medical condition with acute symptoms. The condition requires treatment to prevent endangering health and well-being. It may cause the impairment of a major bodily function or dysfunction of any organ or body part. If you meet the qualifications under Florida law 395.002(8) for an emergency medical condition, the minimum of $10,000 applies to cover your medical treatment.
Time Deadline to File a PIP Lawsuit Against the Insurance Company
When you file a PIP insurance claim in Florida, the insurance company should process the claim and pay you fairly. But what happens when they don’t? What happens if they don’t pay you at all? What happens if they don’t pay you the amount that you deserve under the contract?
If your insurance company doesn’t pay you fairly, you have the option to bring a lawsuit against your own insurance company. Essentially, your claim is a claim to enforce the contract between you and the insurance company. In Florida, the statute of limitations for breach of contract is five years. The time limit is listed in Florida law 95.11(2)(b). When the insurance company doesn’t pay you fairly, and you’ve done everything that you were supposed to do to make the claim, you can bring a lawsuit to require your own insurance company to honor the contract. You can have representation from a Florida car accident attorney to bring your claim on your behalf.
How Long After a Car Accident Claim Can You Claim Injury in Florida?
You can claim injury after a car accident in Florida for 14 days. For minor injuries, you have 14 days to seek medical care. If you don’t get medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, you can no longer claim injury. When you have serious injuries that may prompt a third-party claim, you have four years from the date of the accident to claim injury by initiating your lawsuit for compensation.
Contact our Florida Attorneys for Car Accident
Have you been in a car accident? Do you have questions about the 14-day rule? Contact our car insurance attorneys for a free consultation about your claim.