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What Is the Florida 14-Day Accident Law?

Posted on: October 17, 2023

In the aftermath of a car accident, the shock and stress can often overshadow the steps you need to take. Florida’s laws, particularly the 14-day accident law, emphasize the importance of prompt action after such incidents.

This article delves deep into what the Florida 14-day accident law is, why it matters, and the implications for car accident victims.


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What Is the Florida 14-Day Accident Law?

For anyone involved in an auto accident in Florida, it’s essential to know about the state’s 14-day accident law.

The rule states that you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the motor vehicle accident in order to use your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. A minimum of $10,000 of PIP insurance coverage is required for all Florida drivers to help cover 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages if they are injured in an auto accident.

Florida’s no-fault insurance system was designed to ensure that car accident victims could quickly access medical treatment without waiting for insurance companies to determine fault.

As a result, anyone with a car accident injury must first turn to their own (PIP) benefits—regardless of who caused the accident. However, treatment must begin within 14 days of the accident.

If the injured victim fails to seek treatment within this period, they may forfeit their PIP benefits.

woman getting out of car with neck injury

Why Does This Rule Exist?

One of the primary reasons behind Florida’s 14-day accident law is to ensure prompt medical attention.

Accidents, by their very nature, can lead to a wide range of injuries. And while some manifest symptoms immediately, others might remain hidden, only to cause complications later.

By emphasizing the need to seek medical attention within 14 days, the law ensures that these injuries are detected and treated early on, minimizing the risk of future health complications.

Another significant rationale behind this rule is the mitigation of insurance fraud.

Without a specified time limit, individuals might attribute injuries from other events to the accident. The 14-day law was aimed to reduce the chances of such fraudulent claims.

Lastly, this rule aims to streamline the claim processing system.

Insurance companies are often inundated with claims, and the process of validation and payout can be prolonged. A defined timeline offers clarity and expedites the claim process. This ensures that genuine accident victims receive their due benefits promptly without unnecessary delays.

Doctor with patient examining x-rays of injuries in modern rehabilitation center

Seek Medical Attention Right Away!

In the wake of an accident, you likely experienced a surge of adrenaline as you called the police, exchanged contact information, and all the other steps you need to take after a crash.

But while adrenaline is very good at spurring us into action, it’s also very good at masking symptoms of an injury.

It is not uncommon for injuries to surface days, or even weeks after an accident. If you allow this time to pass without seeing a doctor, you may become ineligible to use your PIP benefits.

Ignoring or minimizing your injuries is incredibly risky, and what seems like a trivial symptom immediately after an accident can grow into a bigger health issue if left unchecked. Even minor symptoms warrant a medical evaluation to ensure they don’t escalate into severe complications.

If you have car insurance, you’re already paying for PIP coverage. Avoiding the doctor because you think your injuries aren’t severe enough (or because you think you can’t afford it), is a huge mistake.

Remember, your PIP coverage takes care of 80% of all medical expenses related to your accident injuries. Failing to use this coverage in a timely manner is basically leaving money on the table.


The Financial and Legal Implications of Missing the Deadline

The consequences of not adhering to Florida’s 14-day accident law can last long after the immediate aftermath of the accident. Namely, injuries resulting from car accidents can quickly escalate into substantial medical bills.

Without the protective coverage offered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, victims may find themselves facing these costs head-on. Combined with the physical and emotional toll of the accident, this can place an immense burden on your daily life.

Legal implications can be just as profound. In the event you decide to sue the at-fault party, your failure to seek prompt medical treatment can become a significant point of contention. The opposing side might argue that your injuries were either not severe enough to warrant a claim or were not a direct consequence of the accident.

Such arguments can complicate the legal proceedings, potentially reducing the compensation that the injured victim might receive.

Additionally, failure to use PIP benefits can impact your recovery. The insurance company will get the benefit of the PIP payments that should have been made. Essentially, you could be starting with a $10,000 deficit in litigation. And you did not get the benefit of those payments!

Also, you must pay back any health insurance provider who pays for your treatment. You do not need to reimburse your PIP provider. Therefore, you can end up owing thousands of dollars back to your health insurer that you would not have otherwise owed.

Personal Injury Attorney Jim Gordon in his Oviedo office

Navigating the Complexities with a Personal Injury Lawyer

The maze of insurance claims can be overwhelming for anyone, especially for someone grappling with the trauma of an accident. This is where the expertise of a personal injury lawyer becomes indispensable.

In the wake of a Florida car accident, a seasoned car accident lawyer acts as both a guide and a guardian.

With their extensive experience, an attorney can notify you of your rights, give you invaluable advice, and help demystify the insurance process. And the more serious your injuries, the greater your need for an attorney.

While the aftermath of an accident can be a daunting journey, having a skilled personal injury lawyer by one’s side can make the path clearer, more navigable, and ultimately, more just.


Your Next Steps After a Car Accident

The significance of Florida’s 14-day accident law cannot be stressed enough. Adhering to this 14-day window not only ensures your physical well-being after a car accident, it clears the path of potential setbacks. It also ensures your financial well being.

For those who’ve experienced the trauma of a car accident in Orlando or the broader Central Florida area, there’s hope. The attorneys at Beers & Gordon have the knowledge and experience to represent your best interests.

Call us today for a free consultation.

Jim Gordon / Beers and Gordon P.A. / Civil Trial Attorneys

Jim Gordon

Jim Gordon earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska in 1997, and two years later began working at a firm in Orlando handling insurance defense matters on cases involving vehicle accidents, negligence, product liability, and more. He established Beers & Gordon P.A. with David Beers in 2009 to represent the rights of people injured because of negligence. He is a member of the invitation-only National Trial Lawyers organization and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.


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