As a personal injury attorney, I am oftentimes asked the question, “When should I seek medical treatment after a car accident?”
My answer is simply: Immediately.
When you are involved in a car accident, your body enters a state of shock and produces endorphin’s, which can mask pain – especially “soft tissue” pain.
Once the endorphins wear off – usually 24 to 72 hours after the car accident – the pain really kicks in. Many clients consider these “delayed injuries”. This is inaccurate, however. These injuries were as a direct result of the car accident; the delayed affect is your body’s defense mechanism in response to the pain.
Common injuries that are initially masked after a car accident include:
- Muscle spasm
- Decreased range of motion
- Pins & needles
- Shooting pain in the extremities
What’s the harm in waiting to seek medical treatment
In many situations, individuals injured in a car accident seek medical treatment three to seven days after their car accident. Many times, these individuals are later diagnosed with significant injuries such as herniated discs, bulging discs, fractured vertebra, torn shoulders, torn knees as a result of the car accident.
After months, and sometimes years, of medical treatment, I file a demand to the at-fault’s insurance (or your insurance if you have uninsured motorist coverage) seeking compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Without fail, the insurance adjuster will tell me, “Your client had a “X number of days” delay in treatment, she must not have been (seriously) injured as a result of the accident” … “Injured people immediately received medical treatment”.
As crazy as this sounds, insurance adjusters are trained to make lower offers to individuals who do not seek immediate medical treatment regardless of the circumstances. The longer the delay in treatment, the less money the adjuster will offer (all things being equal).
How to pay for medical treatment after a car accident
In Florida, your PIP coverage (personal injury protection) will cover 80% of the first $10,000.00 in medical expenses. You have to receive medical treatment within the first fourteen (14) days to receive this benefit.
There is little to no downside of going to the hospital or getting checked out by a doctor (usually a chiropractor or pain management doctor) within a day or two after a car accident.
Hopefully you are given a clean bill of health.
If not, at least you are promptly receiving medical treatment for your injuries and ensuring you are properly compensated in the event you are seriously injured as a result of this car accident.
If you are injured in a car accident that is not your fault, please call the car accident attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin at 954.462.8035 for a free consultation.