As a result of never ending advertising by lawyer referral services such as 411-Pain and Ask-Gary you have likely heard the message that it is paramount that you commence treatment within 14 days of an automobile accident. What is the basis for this message and is it accurate?
Based on the amended Florida personal injury protection (PIP) statute that went into effect on January 1, 2013, an auto accident victim must treat within 14 days following an accident in order to benefit from no-fault benefits. This is an arbitrary standard put into effect as part of a wish list that the insurance industry was granted by the Florida legislature.
In a recent advertisement a non-attorney spokesperson for the 411-Pain referral hotline states verbatim that if you do not treat within 14 days, “it just doesn’t matter.” This message is not only a misrepresentation but is highly deceptive to the unsophisticated consumer. The truth is that arbitrary timeline is only relevant towards qualifying for PIP benefits. However, one can still have a case against the at-fault party if they fail to commence treatment within 14 days following the accident.
If you choose or have chosen to wait and see if the pain will subside as opposed to heading off to the physician as a knee-jerk reaction following an auto accident; you still have a case. In an ideal world, you would be evaluated immediately following an auto accident. However, there are often obstacles that intervene like a job, family and other responsibilities. Further, many individuals do not simply opt to see a physician when they are in pain. Rather, they employ a wait and see approach. The statement “it just doesn’t matter” is clearly misleading and a half truth at best. My hope is that consumers do not simply rely on this advice and opt not to pursue a potential case if they fail to have commenced treatment within 14 days following the accident. This only further illustrates the danger of relying on advice offered by a non-attorney spokesperson from a lawyer referral service.
For more information on Florida’s amended PIP statute and what it means to you as a consumer, call the Tampa injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for a free consultation and case evaluation. Further, you may visit our website at www.dolmanlaw.com to learn more about Florida injury law.