Important Information for
Fort Lauderdale No-Fault Insurance TBI Victims
March is national Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) month and as a leading Fort Lauderdale personal injury law firm we thought it was appropriate to share some of the problems that Floridians with TBI face.
The NIH estimates that there are 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries in the country each year having an economic cost of $56 billion. The bulk of these injuries are mild and temporary in nature (many concussions) but others can lead to permanent disabilities, coma or death.
Because of the national attention on TBI as a common "wound" our returning soldiers experience and the multitude of concussion related lawsuits filed against the NFL by former players, there has been a push to find better diagnostic methods to identify the condition and predict the consequences.
While there have been significant advances in MRI tests, none of them are fast enough for Florida’s new restrictions on collecting Personal Injury Protection from a victim’s no-fault automobile insurance.
Recent Changes in Florida No-Fault Law Hurt TBI victims
Florida is one of a few states that have no-fault insurance. The idea behind this coverage is that a person collects directly from their own insurance company for injuries sustained in an auto accident regardless whose fault it is. Each person has to carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage.
PIP pays for actual expenses like medical costs and lost wages. It does not allow for pain and suffering. It’s a great deal for insurance companies because it eliminates hundreds of expensive lawsuits each year. It’s not such a great deal for the party who is injured as a result of somebody’s negligence.
There is a provision that allows pressing a personal injury lawsuit to recover pain and suffering, future lost wages and medical expenses in cases where permanent injury can be proved. It’s that "proving" part that can be a challenge in TBI cases and Florida has just made it even more difficult.
Today the law requires (and this is for anyone injured in a car accident) to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident. If you don’t, you will not be able to claim any PIP benefits unless a "medical emergency" is declared.
For TBI victims symptoms may not show up for days or even weeks after the event. Often victims will think that dizziness or weakness is natural after an accident and will disappear with time only to discover it isn’t natural and can lead to a debilitating condition.
Don’t Hesitate To Get Checked Out
Now more than ever it is important that you seek immediate medical attention after an accident. Even if you think your head wasn’t "hit" in the accident you could have suffered damage. Concussions and TBI are caused by the brain moving forward and backward inside the skull tearing the strands that tell the brain to perform certain functions. Don’t take a chance, get checked out.
If there is a possibility of a brain injury and you want advice on how to protect your rights, call us at Martin, Lister & Alvarez and we’ll review your case.