If you are injured in a traffic accident here in Florida, and if you do not have a medical examination within 14 days of the accident, you probably will not be compensated.

Everyone in Florida should know about the state’s 14-day rule, because almost anyone could be injured in a Florida traffic collision.

WHY IS A MEDICAL EXAM SO IMPERATIVE AFTER A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT?

After any collision, it is never smart to refuse medical attention, but in Florida, if you do not have a medical examination within 14 days of a traffic crash, your auto insurance company may not be required to compensate you and may deny any subsequent injury claim that you submit.

Immediate medical attention really is imperative after any vehicle accident, and for a number of good reasons.

Even if you feel spectacular, you need to be examined right away after a crash. Here’s why:

1. Sometimes after an accident, your adrenaline masks the immediate pain, and you’ll think that you’re okay when you’re not.

2. If you’ve suffered any latent or hard-to-detect injuries in a traffic accident, those injuries need to be identified and treated before they develop into serious medical conditions.

3. If you in fact have sustained a personal injury or injuries in a collision, you will need the results from a medical exam when you file an injury claim.

4. If you do not seek medical attention at once, you create the perception that any injury you’ve sustained may not be very serious, and your injury claim might be denied.

5. And again, in Florida, the 14-day rule can prevent you from receiving compensation for your injury if you do not schedule and submit to a medical exam within the 14-day window.

WHY DO PEOPLE REFUSE MEDICAL ATTENTION?

Why would anyone refuse medical attention after an accident? Even when some people feel some pain, they’ll try to shrug it off – they’ll say that they are just too busy to be injured.

Some people may feel that admitting to pain is a sign of weakness or immaturity. Some may avoid a medical exam because they are apprehensive about medical costs.

And some people just do not trust doctors or anyone else in the healthcare industry.

None of that matters. What matters in Florida is that you are examined by a healthcare provider within 14 days of a traffic accident.

You need the medical exam results for both legal and medical reasons. If you are involved in any traffic accident in Florida, set aside any prejudice, stubbornness, or fear, and schedule that medical examination immediately.

HOW DOES FLORIDA’S NO-FAULT SYSTEM WORK? WHAT IS PIP COVERAGE?

Under state law, motorists in Florida must have two kinds of automobile insurance:

1. a minimum of $10,000 of personal injury protection or “PIP” coverage
2. a minimum of $10,000 of property damage liability or “PDL” coverage

Under the state’s no-fault auto insurance system, when PIP policyholders are injured in traffic accidents, the first $10,000 of damages – medical expenses and lost income – are supposed to be covered by the injury victim’s own PIP policy without regard to which motorist was at-fault.

The 14-day rule can be a genuine burden for accident victims, but it is not the only potential legal barrier to obtaining compensation after a serious injury in Florida.

HOW MUCH DO MOST FLORIDA ACCIDENT VICTIMS REALLY GET?

For most injuries, even though PIP insurance ostensibly provides $10,000 of coverage, a victim will in fact be limited to a $2,500 recovery amount – unless that victim can prove that he or she is dealing with what the law calls an “EMC” or emergency medical condition.

An EMC is a medical condition that can be reasonably expected to cause the serious or permanent dysfunction of at least one organ or body part – that is, unless the victim receives immediate medical care.

If you’ve been injured in Florida traffic, you complied with the 14-day rule, and your doctor or an advanced registered nurse practitioner diagnosed you with an EMC, you are entitled through your PIP coverage to 80 percent of your reasonable and customary medical costs up to $10,000.

WHEN CAN AN ACCIDENT VICTIM FILE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT?

Although $8,000 is somewhat more helpful than $2,500, if you have sustained a traumatic brain injury, a catastrophic spinal cord injury, or any other long-term or permanently disabling injury in a Florida traffic accident, you are going to need substantially more compensation.

But under Florida’s no-fault system, an injury victim may pursue a legal action against an at-fault driver only if one (or more) of these conditions applies:

1. The injuries sustained in the accident are permanent.
2. The injuries include extensive or permanent disfigurement or scarring.
3. The injuries include the permanent loss of an important bodily function.

With so many rules and conditions in Florida law, how can you know where you stand legally after you’ve been injured in a vehicle collision?

WHO CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT INJURY AND LIABILITY?

As soon as possible after an accident and injury, discuss your rights and options with an experienced Miami personal injury attorney. A first legal consultation and case review will not cost you anything.

After reviewing the details of your accident and injury, your attorney can explain how the law applies in your own circumstances, and he or she will recommend the best way to move forward.

If your accident attorney recommends a personal injury lawsuit, you could receive full compensation for all current and future medical expenses, lost income and lost earning capacity, pain, suffering, and more.

HOW ARE PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS RESOLVED?

Most personal injury matters in Florida are settled by both sides’ attorneys in private, out-of-court negotiations.

In the rare cases where an acceptable settlement amount is not offered, an experienced Miami personal injury attorney will take your case to trial and fight aggressively on your behalf for compensation – and for justice.

Florida’s accident and liability laws are complicated and sometimes harsh. If you are injured in traffic on a Florida street or highway, you must arrange for a medical examination at once, and you must obtain legal advice and representation immediately.

If a negligent driver injures you, get the medical and legal help you need. Do it quickly. Nothing is more important than your health and your future.