Why Do I Hear On The Radio I Have 14 Days To File A PIP Claim If In An Auto Accident?
Author: Attorney Daniel Villalobos
Q: Do I only have 14 days to file a claim if in an automobile accident?
A: No, the advertisements you hear on television are misleading and usually broadcasted by lawyer referral services in order to trick people into seeking medical care quickly. The law in Florida is that a victim in an automobile accident has 14 days to seek medical care from the date of the accident in order to qualify for PIP benefits. PIP benefits are paid from a victim’s own insurance company towards medical bills. Lawyer referral services want to make sure that you qualify for PIP benefits so the stress the need to seek medical care within 14 days of the accident. If medical care is sought after 14 days, then the medical providers won’t get paid by the victim’s insurance company and the medical providers would then have to wait to get paid out of the settlement of the case (if they get paid at all).
Q: What if I wait more than 14 days to seek medical care?
A: A victim of an automobile accident still can file a claim for injuries against the person who caused the accident. The doctors who treat the victim will sign a letter of protection with the victim that promises that upon settlement, the victim will still pay the doctor for his services.
Q: If I wait more than 14 days to seek medical care do I have to use my insurance at all?
A: As it relates to PIP protection, if a victim seeks medical care after 14 days, the victim’s own personal insurance company will not pay any PIP benefits. However, there could be exposure to the victim’s own insurance company for other coverages such as uninsured motorist, collision, comprehensive, rental, etc. etc.
Q: Why do lawyer referral services stress the need to seek medical care within 14 days?
A: Lawyer referral services are a business just like anything else. If a victim calls a lawyer referral service and seeks medical care within 14 days, then the doctors who work with the lawyer referral service can receive all or some of the $10,000 available under the PIP coverage.
Q: Can I receive any of the $10,000 available of my PIP coverage?
A: Yes, a victim is entitled to 60% of lost wages up to the $10,000 limit.
Q: What if I have an accident and don’t want to use my insurance, can I do that?
A: Yes, but you cannot begin treatment until after 14 days have passed from the date of the accident.
Q: If I begin treatment after 14 days, is that bad for my case?
A: One should never treat just to make a case better. Medical care is to treat injuries, not make or break a case. However, typically, the longer one waits to begin medical care, the harder it is for the lawyer to attribute the injuries to the accident. The longer one waits to get medical care, the easier it is for the insurance company to claim a subsequent event occurred since the accident that is now causing the pain and not the accident itself.
Q: Will the PIP laws ever change?
A: It is possible. Laws change all the time, depending on the political make up of the Florida Legislature and Governor. The Q & A discussed in this thread is accurate as of February 23, 2017, call us for a free consultation for advice based on the most up to date laws pertaining to your accident.