When you are in a car accident, it is a huge relief when it appears that no one is injured, and an ambulance is not needed. However, it is essential that you still go to the emergency room or to your physician to get checked out – even if you feel you are unharmed.
Many injuries are not immediately apparent. Also, if you let too long pass before reporting your injuries to your insurance company, you could lose the opportunity to recover compensation.
Retaining the services of an Orlando car accident attorney can help you to pursue compensation for the injuries you have sustained – even if you did not become aware of the level of your injuries immediately after the accident.
Here are three specific reasons to see a doctor after you are involved in a crash in Florida:
1. You may be unaware that you have a serious injury.
One of the most common injuries that someone may suffer in a car accident is whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury. It can range from mild to severe. The abrupt backward or forward jerking motion in a car accident can cause this strain or sprain to the neck.
According to WebMD, many of the symptoms of whiplash do not appear for at least 24 hours after an accident. Yet, the longer whiplash goes untreated, the more damage it does to an injured person’s neck. This is why it is a necessity to have a doctor examine and even X-ray your neck and whole body after an auto accident. Something as minor as whiplash can cause headaches, memory impairment and dizziness if left untreated.
Many more serious injuries do not immediately display symptoms but can have long-lasting negative effects on your body.
Internal injuries, for instance, are a big concern after a crash. One of the signs of internal bleeding, according to the Mayo Clinic, is bruising. This is problematic because one may assume that bruising is a result from the collision, and it will fade within a few days. However, the bruising may really be indicative of something much more sinister.
Internal bleeding is a condition that requires a doctor’s immediate attention. It will not heal on its own. Even scarier, internal injuries can lead to cardiac arrest or even death. That is why it is smartest and safest to get checked out by a doctor after even the smallest fender-bender.
Another injury that can have far-reaching implications for a passenger’s quality of life is traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI can range from mild to severe. It can impair the function of the injured individual’s brain cells.
TBI can have wide-ranging symptoms, which makes it especially difficult to pinpoint without a doctor’s assistance. Symptoms ranging from mild headaches and fatigue to nausea, blurred vision and vomiting are all associated with TBI.
Even a mild brain injury is an extremely serious condition. It should be addressed by a doctor immediately. In many cases, TBI will result in long-lasting intellectual problems such as cognitive and executive brain function. Without immediate treatment, these issues may plague a person for the rest of his or her life.
2. If you do not get examined within 14 days, you may lose your right to PIP benefits.
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto accidents. This means that all drivers must have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. (You can read the statute here.)
A driver’s PIP policy will pay for 80 percent of all reasonable expenses for medically necessary medical, surgical, X-ray, dental and rehabilitative services – regardless of who was at fault for the crash. However, if you do not seek medical treatment within 14 days after your accident, your insurer can deny paying PIP benefits.
This is yet another reason why it is so important to have a doctor give you a complete examination after being involved in a car accident. If you wait too long, you may ineligible for benefits – even if a serious medical issue does develop.
3. Establishing a medical record will be important if you go beyond PIP coverage.
In certain cases, an individual involved in a car accident may sue the other driver (or drivers) involved in the crash to receive compensation beyond what PIP benefits cover. An individual who was injured (or surviving family members) may sue the other parties involved if the following occurs:
- Significant and permanent loss of a significant bodily function
- Permanent injury
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
If additional compensation is sought, a doctor’s record of the injuries will be an absolute necessity in the proceedings. The earlier the examination can be done after an accident, the better. If time passes between the accident and visiting a doctor, an insurance company may claim that your injuries were sustained after the accident and not as the result of it.
So, to protect your interests, it will be essential to seek a medical examination immediately following a car accident – even a seemingly minor crash.
An Orlando Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
Many individuals refuse to seek medical attention after a car accident because they are worried about the cost. While medical examinations and care can be expenses, keep in mind: Covering those costs is the exact purpose of the PIP coverage you have bought. You are already required by law to have the coverage. You might as well use it when you need it.
Additionally, public assistance such as Medicaid or Medicare may be available to assist individuals throughout the course of their medical treatment.
If you are entrenched in a lawsuit, but you still need immediate medical attention for your injuries, our attorneys can work with the hospital or doctor to establish a lien in your name, allowing you to receive treatment while the lawsuit is resolved.
Attorney Frank M. Eidson is dedicated to assisting each of his clients with their car accident legal needs. He will ensure you get the medical care that you need after an auto accident, and he will fight for your right to receive the proper benefits and compensation from your insurance provider and any others involved in your accident. If you have been in a car accident in Orlando, Winter Park or elsewhere in Florida, contact us without delay.