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What Is An EMC (Emergency Medical Condition) And Why Is It Important For My Florida Car Wreck Case?

What is an Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) and Why It’s Important?

Florida is one of only 13 other states in the US that has no-fault car insurance laws. Basically, these states require each driver to purchase their own injury coverage for car wrecks. If a wreck occurs between Florida drivers, then both the at-fault party and the victim have “no-fault” or “personal injury protection” (PIP) coverage. These PIP benefits are available for each party’s own medical bills and lost wages WITHOUT regard to fault. So even the at-fault driver is entitled to their own policy’s PIP benefits for their injuries and lost wages But, what about an emergency medical condition?

Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) From Accident and Personal Injury Protection Coverage.

When this law was first passed in Florida, all parties to a car wreck were immediately entitled to the entire $10,000.00 from the wreck until the entire amount had been paid out or exhausted. However, years of abuse of this benefit made the Florida legislature pass reforms to the PIP laws, making it harder to access the entire $10,000.00 benefit.

Under the current version of the PIP statute, parties are only entitled to $2,500.00 of the $10,000.00 PIP benefit at the outset. To access the remaining $7,500.00, the injured party must be diagnosed with an emergency medical condition, or “EMC.” 

EMC Is Defined As:

“Emergency medical condition” means a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity, which may include severe pain, such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in any of the following:

(a) Serious jeopardy to patient health.

(b) Serious impairment to bodily functions.

(c) Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

An EMC can only be found by a medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, dentist, physician assistant, or APRN.

Omitted from this list are chiropractors, and it was the intent of the Florida legislature to remove chiropractors from the approval process in regards to PIP benefits.

EMCs can be diagnosed in real-time or later in your treatment. For example, if you go through the initial treatment and then realize that PIP only paid $2,500.00 since there was no documented EMC, So long as a physician is able to say that you “had” an EMC related to the car wreck at any point, then you will be eligible for the entire $10,000.00 benefit.

PIP Coverage Follows You No Matter What Car You Are In At The Time Of The Wreck. 

If you do not qualify for PIP under your policy and there is no auto policy in your house that you qualify for PIP under, then you may qualify for PIP in the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the wreck.

PIP coverage can assist you as an injured party in a car wreck. It can aid you in getting the treatment necessary to diagnose or be the diagnosed of your car wreck-related injuries.

Injuries And Medical Bills

It should be noted that “no-fault” insurance refers to injuries and medical bills. If your car was damaged in an accident, which means the other driver was at fault and you were not at fault the cost to repair your vehicle would fall to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

This is a significant issue for your case since these PIP benefits can be used to pay for valuable treatment related to your Florida car wreck case.

At the end of your case, all medical bills have to be paid, and if your health insurance pays for them, you will be required to reimburse your health insurance.  PIP benefits, however, do not have to be paid back or reimbursed.

So, it’s in your best interest to use all of these benefits before you start using your own health insurance or start accumulating medical bills to be paid out of your own pocket.


Learn More About What To Do If You Are In An Accident From Our Car Wreck Checklist >

Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.

If you or a loved one was involved in a Florida car wreck and/or has Florida PIP questions, please feel free to reach out to our firm at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855HireJoe.



Good Riddance 2020 – What’s on the Horizon for 2021?


Zarzaur law Get rid of Coronavirus

Dumpster fire or you can call it what you will – some people just call it “2020.”

I don’t think I need to explain to anyone how horrible this year has been from a productivity standpoint, not to mention the fact that we all have been basically fighting for our lives and well-being trying to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, many people in our country don’t have access to healthcare and some have been left without necessary treatment to beat the virus. We should all be mindful of this fact which has been brought to the forefront because of this pandemic.

We have faced challenges that prior to this year we didn’t even realize existed. For example, how many of us knew what a ZOOM call was prior to January 2020? What did our bosses say about working remotely prior to this year?

The challenges brought about in 2020, in large part by the pandemic, have also made us persevere. We have had to figure out how to work together and not infect each other, how to be productive at home, and how we can relate to our friends and family without infecting them. We have done all of this and still have been able to survive and thrive.

At Zarzaur Law we were able to do this in large part by the guidance of our in-house physician Dr. Evan Malone. Dr. Malone has since the very beginning of the year shepherded us through the various stages of this pandemic, providing us information based on scientific studies. Dr. Malone has also connected us with a local testing company which has provided a level of security in our office each week by knowing that at least, for that week, the people around us at work were not infected. This sense of wellness has not only allowed us to be personally more secure with her own health but has also allowed us to more effectively serve the clients of the law firm in a near-normal manner.

We have not been able to have as many social gatherings or our charity events this year. Whether it be the legal graffiti events, various races that we sponsor, our gavel triathlon team, or competitions that we usually have a chair – when you’re faced with a pandemic like this the priorities become clear.

We knew our priorities were to our own family’s health and well-being followed very closely by the well-being of our client’s cases.

So, our focus this year has been on two main things:

  1. Keeping ourselves healthy
  2. Keeping our client’s cases moving

The news of the vaccine is certainly encouraging, or I should say various vaccines. Zarzaur Law will continue being diligent in protecting our staff from infection until we have all been rid of this disease for good. That will include aggressive masking, distancing, and testing and we will continue to encourage our community to do the same.

At the same time, we will remain focused on our client’s cases. We will make certain that nothing other than aggressive representation is exhibited in the pursuit of their day in court. We will also continue to be available 24 hours/7 days a week (safely) by phone or virtual meetings.

I don’t remember ever being this excited about ending a year. I completely understand the idea of shooting fireworks and perhaps blowing up the past year while looking towards the new one. All of us at Zarzaur Law look forward to serving our community in 2021, as we leave this virus behind and hopefully this time next year be able to serve not only our clients but also our community again in Zarzaur Law fashion.

Happy New Year, Pensacola