Did you know that the Florida Automobile No-Fault Insurance Law has changed effective January 1, 2013? According to the new law, each individual is still required to carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection, however, if you are in an accident and require medical attention, you are not entitled to using the full $10,000 unless your injuries are deemed an emergency medical condition (EMC).
An emergency medical condition is defined as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to patient health, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of a body organ or part. An individual who is not diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, the PIP medical benefit limit is $2,500. Massage and acupuncture are not reimbursable, regardless of who the type of provider rendering such services. Individuals seeking PIP medical benefits are required to receive initial services and care within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident. Initial services and care are only reimbursable if lawfully provided, supervised, ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician, licensed osteopathic physician, licensed chiropractic physician, licensed dentist, or must be rendered in a hospital, a facility that owns or is owned by a hospital, or a licensed emergency transportation and treatment provider. Follow up services and care require a referral from such providers and must be consistent with the underlying medical diagnosis rendered when the individual received initial services and care. (The Florida Senate-CS/CS/HB19-Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Protection Insurance)
So what does this mean? It means that it is imperative to seek care within 14 days of your accident to guarantee that your automobile insurance company will pay for your medical bills. If you wait and seek care after 14 days, you will have to use your health insurance or pay out of pocket. In my opinion, this is unfair. Symptoms of whiplash related injuries are many times not felt in the first couple of weeks following a motor vehicle accident. So, if you experience abnormal symptoms following an accident, (stiffness, nausea, fatigue, headache, loss of coordination), please seek help from a licensed professional that specializes in managing these type of symptoms/injuries, such as a chiropractic physician. It is your right to receive the care you deserve.
Thousands of automobile accidents occur every day. According to the National Safety Council (NSA), there are more than 12 million motor vehicle accidents annually including more than 20 million vehicles. This results in over 5 million nonfatal accidents annually of which approximately 2 million are disabling injuries including approximately 1 million work-related auto disabling injuries. Many studies have found a significant number of individuals to be symptomatic for many months and even years after a motor vehicle accident. In one such study, 75 percent of individuals remained symptomatic 6 months after the accident. Another study, published in the European Spine Journal, found that during the period of time between the first and second years following a motor vehicle accident over 20 percent actually had their symptoms worsen.
The majority of injuries sustained are acceleration/deceleration or “Whiplash” disorders. Whiplash occurs when the head thrusts forward then backward or vice versa upon impact. A whiplash injury is a serious injury. Structures composing the spine and nervous system are affected. Herniated discs, ligament sprains/tears, muscle strains/tears, fractures of the head and spine, concussions/brain damage and contusions are common injuries sustained during a motor vehicle accident and result in pain and suffering. Another reason to seek care immediately following an accident is to manage pain and to correct potentially life altering injuries. If you or someone you know has experienced the unfortunate event of a motor vehicle accident, please get evaluated. Even if you think or feel “Okay” following an accident, it is always a good idea to have a licensed professional with expertise in this area evaluate you for injuries that may be life altering.
At Clearwater Sports and Wellness, Dr. Sessa takes pride in his ability to thoroughly evaluate and treat those that are suffering from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. He has been treating injuries of this nature for many years and possesses the knowledge and expertise to help each individual manage their pain and correct dysfunction through chiropractic care, physiotherapy modalities, manual therapy, (Active Release Techniques), functional rehabilitation and spinal corrective exercises. Dr. Sessa also networks with various specialists that are also experienced in treating automobile injuries. He believes that every patient’s well being is the most important issue and will never hesitate to refer to a specialist for additional treatment or consultation.