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How Long Do I Have to See a Doctor After an Auto Accident?


Experts In This Article

A car crash can be a traumatic and life-altering event. In the aftermath of a collision, most people wonder whether it’s necessary to see a doctor and, if so, how soon after the accident. In case you’ve been in an auto accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible to have your injuries, visible or otherwise, adequately assessed. Despite feeling fine initially, you may later experience the onset of pain and discomfort as the body’s natural defenses subside. Common injuries sustained in auto accidents include whiplash, concussions, fractures, and soft tissue injuries. Victims can also suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and internal bleeding that may not present symptoms immediately.

Untreated injuries often worsen over time, leading to chronic pain, disability, and diminished quality of life. Psychological trauma can also manifest as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without specialized care. Beyond health considerations, timely medical attention is crucial for legal purposes based on the Florida 14-Day Rule. Documentation of injuries and subsequent treatment helps when filing insurance claims and pursuing compensation for damages. Let’s look at implications of the Florida 14-Day Rule and why hiring an Orlando car accident lawyer at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney is wise.

How Long Do You Have to See a Doctor After a Car Accident: The Florida 14-Day Rule in Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

The Florida 14-Day Rule is a statute in Florida law that establishes requirements for seeking medical treatment following a vehicular accident. Under Florida’s PIP insurance coverage, anyone injured in a car accident is entitled to medical benefits to treat injuries resulting from it. This mandatory coverage may yield up to $10,000 for reasonable medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault.

However, the 14-day Rule requires that an injured party must seek medical treatment from a licensed medical professional within 14 days of the motor vehicle accident to be eligible for PIP medical benefits. If an injured party fails to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, they are no longer considered to have an “emergency medical condition” under Florida law.

This means the insurance company providing PIP coverage for the at-fault driver can deny paying for any medical treatment, diagnostic tests, or other services sought after the 14-day window. The rule ensures prompt medical treatment for injuries while also preventing fraudulent or frivolous claims under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system. Compliance with this statute is essential for injured individuals to receive compensation for medical bills through PIP insurance.

It’s also advisable for anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida to consult a personal injury lawyer, as they can explain the nuances of the 14-day Rule to ensure they receive all benefits allowed under their PIP coverage. Contact an auto justice attorney knowledgeable about Florida insurance law to guide you on how to comply with the 14-day Rule while pursuing fair compensation.

Timeline for Seeking Medical Care

Delaying medical treatment may result in adverse consequences, leading to more severe and lasting health complications. From a legal standpoint, connecting injuries to the accident can be challenging, especially if there is no immediate medical documentation. This can have a substantial impact on legal proceedings, as insurance companies or opposing parties may argue that the lack of immediate medical attention indicates that the injuries are not severe or that they are unrelated to the accident. With this in mind:

  • Within the first 48 hours: Visit a qualified medical professional for a thorough evaluation; they can assess injuries, order diagnostic tests, and create an appropriate treatment plan.
  • The following weeks: Continue with follow-up assessment with specialists such as orthopedists, neurologists, or physical therapists, depending on the gravity of your injuries. Regular appointments help monitor the progress of recovery and ensure necessary treatments are provided.

If you’re concerned about financial resources or insurance coverage, explore available options such as Personal Injury Protection insurance coverage or medical payment coverage. An auto justice attorney can also help you in obtaining relevant documentation for a successful personal injury claim.

Possible Compensation Following a Vehicle Accident

To prove fault for a car accident, investigators consider factors like vehicle positioning, traffic signals, road conditions, witness statements, and damage patterns. Comparing accident details to Florida traffic statutes allows insurance agent investigators to determine which party acted negligently. This is where an accident lawyer comes in handy.

If you are not at fault for a vehicle accident in Florida, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages to compensate for your injuries and losses. Economic damages aim to reimburse actual financial losses such as out-of-pocket medical bills and lost income or wages based on evidence provided. The costs of ongoing treatment, vehicle repairs, and long-term effects must also be addressed; a personal injury lawyer can help maximize the settlement amount to cover all your expenses and losses.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate for pain and suffering as well as other intangible harms, which are more difficult to assign a dollar value to yet can cover physical and emotional distress following an accident. An experienced attorney can help present compelling evidence and arguments to justify fair and reasonable amounts for non-economic awards during settlement negotiations or in court.

Note: As one of the few U.S. states with a no-fault auto insurance system, Florida mandates that all motorists have Personal Injury Protection coverage on their car insurance policies. PIP insurance provides up to $10,000 for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault in a car crash.

The purpose of the no-fault system is to ensure anyone injured has their medical bills paid and lost income replaced through their own policy rather than needing to rely on or sue the at-fault driver. However, even with PIP coverage, injured parties may still be able to sue for pain and suffering or other damages beyond the policy limits if the other driver’s negligence caused severe injuries in an accident.

How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Florida?

The statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim in Florida is generally four years from the date of the crash. This deadline is in place to encourage pursuing compensation while evidence and witness recollections are still fresh. The four-year period applies to both personal injury and property damage claims arising from traffic incidents.

If filing a lawsuit against an insurer or another driver, the statute of limitations clock starts ticking on the day of the accident. However, there is a caveat if the full extent of injuries has yet to be determined; in such cases, the clock doesn’t start until the nature and amount of damages become reasonably ascertainable.

Still, victims are encouraged to notify insurers and gather documentation within weeks or months of an accident to preserve their rights. Should the four-year statute of limitations expire without initiating a personal injury lawsuit, accident victims risk losing their ability to pursue compensation through the legal system. Insurance companies may also refuse payouts on late claims.

A skilled motor accident attorney could assess timeliness concerns, provide guidance on claim deadlines, and potentially argue for statute of limitations extensions if there were mitigating circumstances preventing an earlier filing. Injured individuals can have peace of mind knowing that no legal options will be forfeited due to missed windows of opportunity.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help with Your Claim

An auto accident attorney specializes in handling legal matters that arise from car crashes. Their expertise is in personal injury law related to motor vehicle accidents. They represent clients who have been injured physically, emotionally, or financially due to the negligent actions of others involved in traffic incidents.

A car accident lawyer can help gather evidence and documentation by collecting police reports, witness statements, photos of vehicle damage, and medical records to fully document your injuries and build a strong case. Insurance companies often try to lowball claims by downplaying injuries, questioning liability, and stalling negotiations. An attorney can combat these tactics by highlighting errors in the insurer’s valuation and pushing for timely resolution.

They will work to determine fault and liability by investigating the accident details and applicable traffic laws to place the blame on the at-fault party when appropriate. Their legal knowledge is valuable for establishing who is responsible when liability is unclear. Fighting for maximum compensation involves assessing all costs associated with the accident so clients receive payment to fully cover their damages.

Attorneys are experienced at demanding fair settlements that make injured people truly whole again. If negotiations stall, they are equipped to handle legal proceedings like filing lawsuits and seeing cases through to trial. Clients receive justice and do not have to face complex proceedings alone. An accident lawyer will advise you of your legal entitlements under insurance contracts and personal injury law following a crash.

You can rest assured they will guard against violations of your rights throughout the claims process. If you have been injured in a car accident in Central Florida due to someone else’s negligence, Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson, P.A., is here to help. We have a team of seasoned lawyers dedicated to helping accident victims seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries or losses. Call 407-422-4529 and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case details and legal options going forward.

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