Don’t Delay in Obtaining Medical Treatment After an Accident
One of the most important, but least understood, truths of motor vehicle accidents or other personal injury scenarios in which a victim is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in Florida is the importance of receiving medical treatment for whatever injuries you suffered as soon as possible after your injuries have occurred. There are a number of reasons for doing so. First, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, then there may be statutory timeframes within which you must seek treatment or else any claims you may intend to file with your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance may be waived by virtue of seeking treatment too late. Secondly, the longer you wait to seek medical treatment can also result in your injuries becoming more severe or even permanent. Lastly, the medical treatment that an injured person seeks is often used as a proxy by insurers and defense attorneys for how seriously injured a person was in a motor vehicle accident or other personal injury scenario. Therefore, if you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in Florida, then you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible for your injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.
Medical Treatment and PIP Benefits in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Under Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) law, every Florida driver must carry a minimum amount ($10,000) of PIP insurance. Regardless of who is at fault in a motor vehicle accident, the first $10,000 of damages that you suffer, including 60% of the expenses of your medical treatment up to that amount, are covered by your own PIP insurance benefits. In order for these insurance benefits to cover your treatment, however, you must receive treatment within the first two weeks (14 days) after your accident. Otherwise, it is assumed that any medical treatment you may be receiving for your injuries must have been related to some other, unrelated medical issue that you may have developed or been suffering from at the time that you were injured. Then, your own PIP benefits would not be available to cover the costs of any medical treatment that you seek, even if it is for your injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident.
This is most decidedly not a very fair rule given that the last thing most people are worried about if they have been seriously injured is how they are going to be paying for medical treatment they may need; instead, they are worried about getting his or her life together after what has been a traumatic event. This also can be a tall order for someone who may have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of his or her own given the person may be without a car and may be trying to figure out how to get to and from work or any number of other things someone must deal with after an accident. Losing these insurance benefits can be devastating, particularly if it turns out the other driver is uninsured. If that is the case, your own PIP benefits may be the only chance you have for some of your medical treatment related to an accident paid to be paid. However, if the other driver does have insurance, there is nothing that prevents you from going after that driver for the costs of your treatment, even if you missed the window for submitting the costs of that treatment to your own PIP insurer.
Other Considerations Related to Receiving Medical Treatment As Soon As Possible After You Are Injured
Some injuries can become more serious as time passes, particularly if the injury is not treated right away after an accident has occurred. Failure to get medical treatment immediately could result in an injury healing improperly, thereby potentially making an injury permanent. For example, if you suffer a broken limb in a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall, then wait six months to seek treatment, the fractured limb may not have healed correctly. If you are lucky, a physician can break the bone and re-set so that it heals properly, and you are not limping for the rest of your life. If you are not lucky, then your failure to seek treatment as soon as possible could lead to permanent consequences. Your fractured limb may have healed in a manner that cannot be undone and, consequently, for example, you may be impaired with a permanent limp, with little that your physicians can do except attempt to minimize that limp as much as possible.
Lastly, insurers and defense attorneys often do not trust anything you or your attorney may tell them about your injuries. Therefore, if you have sought treatment for a particular injury, then both the other side’s insurer and attorney may take your claim more seriously given that you went to the trouble to receive that treatment and a medical professional has found that treatment specifically correlated to injuries you suffered because of someone else’s negligence. This can help to increase the chances of the insurer and/or defense attorney taking your claim seriously when it comes to settlement negotiations or deciding whether to take a case to trial.
Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley
At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of representing the victims of motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida. Seeking treatment as soon as possible after you have been injured by someone else’s negligence is essential. Not only does it maximize your chances of recovering full compensation from the party that injured you, but it also maximizes your chances of making a full recovery from whatever injuries you suffered as a result of that person’s negligence. However, regardless of whether you missed a deadline for seeking medical treatment to be able to make a claim against your own PIP benefits, what type of injuries you suffered, or what the scenario was in which you suffered those injuries, our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys will seek to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries, regardless of whose negligence caused those injuries. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.