• Lisa Brown

How Soon Should I See a Doctor After a Riverview Car Accident?

Luckily, not every Florida car accident leads to injuries that require medical attention.  However, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents continue to be the leading cause of accident-related emergency room trips in the United States.  In Florida alone, there were 402,385 total traffic crashes in 2017.  Of these, 2,924 resulted in at least one fatality, and 166,612 resulted in at least one reported injury.   In Hillsborough County during this same year there were 27,909 total crashes, with 191 total fatalities and 20,682 reported injuries.  While these numbers may seem high, in reality there were probably more injuries, as many often go unreported.

If My Injury Seems Minor, Should I Wait to See a Doctor?

Car accidents are unexpected, and usually when someone is in one, they are on their way somewhere and they have a particular time that they have to be there.  Because of this, a lot of people decline medical attention after a car accident, even if they are in some pain.  Worse yet, some people also choose to wait for awhile after their car accident to see if the pain goes away by itself.  This is a mistake!

One of the biggest mistakes people can make after a car accident is waiting too long to see the doctor.  Failing to seek medical attention can put your health in jeopardy as well as reduce your potential claim value.  The first thing an insurance company will look for in your medical records is when you first complained of your injury.  Merely complaining to the Police Officer is not enough (and is likely inadmissible in Court).  Insurance companies believe that if you are hurt, you will go see a doctor.  If you don’t go to the doctor, then you must not be hurt.  This is their mentality.  Unfortunately, many jurors feel the same way.  This is why it is important to go to the doctor as soon as possible after a car accident.  And when you do go, make sure you tell your doctor about your car accident and everything that hurts, whether minor or not.  This way there will be a record of when your pain began and what caused it.

Does Insurance Require That I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

The short answer to this question is “No.”  If you are not hurt at all and you don’t intend on pursuing a claim for personal injuries, then there is no requirement that you see a doctor after a car accident.  However, if you are hurt, Florida law does require that you see a doctor within 14 days in order to maintain your full benefits under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of your auto insurance policy.   When you’re in a car accident, PIP provides $10,000 in coverage for your medical bills regardless of fault for the accident. If you fail to see a doctor within that timeframe, you will completely lose this coverage under your policy.  However, this does not mean that you won’t still be able to make a claim on the at-fault party’s insurance, or on your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  It just means that you will lose out on benefits you otherwise would have been entitled to had you seen a doctor within the first 14 days.

Does it Matter What Doctor I See After a Car Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, with only one exception there is no requirement as to which medical professional you seek treatment from after the accident.  The one exception is for your PIP coverage.   In order to maintain the full $10,000 in PIP coverage, you not only need to seek treatment within the first 14 days after your accident, but you must see an actual medical doctor or chiropractor.  Professional such as acupuncturists, massage therapists, etc. do not qualify for purposes of PIP. Other than this exception, you are free to seek treatment from any medical professional you choose.

With that said, it is recommended that you begin to treat your injuries with the most conservative treatment first, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, and massage.   Insurance companies will place a higher value on your claim if your records show that you have exhausted all conservative measures first before considering surgical options, if appropriate.

Free Information

If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:

  1. Your Guide to Florida Car Accident Claims;

  2. The Ultimate Guide to Florida Slip and Fall Cases; and

  3. 5 Medical Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Personal Injury Case

which are available at our website, or you can click the link provided.  You can also contact us at (813)419-3866 to talk directly to a Riverview personal injury attorney now.

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