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Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident in Florida, Even If I Feel Fine?

November 20, 2023 Legal Team

Car accidents can be a traumatic and unsettling experience, even if you feel fine immediately afterward. However, in Florida, the decision to see a doctor after an accident is not just about your health but also about protecting your legal and financial interests. This article will explore the importance of seeking medical attention after a car accident in Florida, even if you feel fine. We will discuss Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) laws, the 14-day treatment window, and the potential for delayed onset injuries, supported by authoritative sources.

Florida’s PIP Laws and the 14-Day Treatment Window

Florida is one of several states that have a no-fault insurance system, which includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP insurance covers your medical expenses and lost wages in the event of a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. However, it comes with a critical requirement: you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident to access these benefits. Failing to do so may result in the loss of your PIP benefits.

According to Florida’s PIP laws, you must see a qualified medical professional within 14 days of the accident for your injuries to be eligible for coverage. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that accident victims receive prompt medical evaluation and treatment to mitigate potential injuries. If you do not seek treatment within this timeframe, your insurance claim may be denied.

Delayed Onset Injuries

One common misconception is that if you feel fine immediately after an accident, you must be uninjured. However, this is not always the case. In many situations, the adrenaline and shock experienced during a car accident can mask the symptoms of injuries, leading to delayed onset symptoms. Some injuries may not manifest until hours or even days after the accident.

Adrenaline, released as part of the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress, can dull pain and mask symptoms. This can create a false sense of well-being after an accident, which is why seeking prompt medical attention is essential to identify any underlying injuries.

Authoritative medical sources, such as the Mayo Clinic, emphasize the delayed onset of symptoms after car accidents. Whiplash, concussions, and soft tissue injuries are examples of conditions that may not immediately manifest symptoms.

Importance of Getting Checked Out

Even if you feel fine after a car accident, it is essential to get checked out by a medical professional. Here are several compelling reasons:

Identification of Hidden Injuries

As mentioned, many injuries do not present immediate symptoms. A healthcare provider can perform a thorough examination to identify any hidden injuries. Detecting injuries early is crucial for effective treatment and recovery.

Legal and Insurance Protection

Seeing a doctor within the 14-day window is essential to protect your legal and financial interests. If you delay seeking medical treatment, you risk losing access to PIP benefits that could cover your medical expenses.

Peace of Mind

Even if you ultimately receive a clean bill of health, getting checked out by a medical professional can provide peace of mind. Knowing that you have been examined by a qualified healthcare provider can help alleviate any concerns about hidden injuries.

Documented Medical Records

Medical records serve as critical evidence if you need to pursue a personal injury claim later on. Having documented proof of your medical evaluation and any injuries is invaluable when dealing with insurance companies or legal proceedings.

The Impact of the Accident

It’s important to note that the severity of the accident does not always correlate with the severity of injuries. Even in relatively minor accidents, the forces involved can still cause injuries that may not be immediately apparent. In larger impacts or high-speed collisions, the risk of severe injuries is even higher.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spinal cord injuries, and other severe conditions. These injuries may not always present immediate symptoms, making timely medical evaluation even more critical.

The decision to see a doctor after a car accident in Florida, even if you feel fine, is not just a matter of personal health but a legal and financial necessity. Florida’s PIP laws require you to seek medical treatment within 14 days of an accident to access insurance benefits, and many injuries may not manifest immediately due to the effects of adrenaline and shock. By seeking prompt medical attention, you protect your health, secure legal and insurance benefits, and ensure that any hidden injuries are detected and treated. It is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional after any car accident to prioritize your well-being and safeguard your interests.

The personal injury lawyers at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann are here to help you get the justice you deserve. Contact our injury lawyers today in Sarasota and Bradenton to get a free case evaluation and to help you understand your rights after your injury.