Car Collision Insider’s Guide – Medical Evaluation
After a car accident it is now more important than ever to obtain prompt medical evaluation and treatment. PIP insurance or personal injury protection is required for all car owners in Florida. The purpose is to provide medical and hospital expense benefits no matter who was at fault for the collision. This is generally known as Florida No Fault. Sadly, Florida PIP no longer guarantees $10,000 of medical coverage for motor vehicle accident victims. In fact, unless you seek medical evaluation and treatment within 14 days, you will forfeit all benefits.
Car wrecks are traumatic events and many people are so confused, dazed or simply filled with a rush of adrenaline that injury or pain may not be fully appreciated at the time of the impact. When folks get home they often begin to experience discomfort over the following hours and days. Yet, many people simply believe that the pain will go away with rest, ice and over the counter medications. Unless they have some experience with spinal injury, folks may believe that if they just wait a few weeks they will fully recover. This seems to be especially true for younger people and those who work full time. Many hardworking people do not want to take time off to go to a doctor if the injury “may heal on its own.”
The failure to obtain a medical evaluation permits your car insurance company to deny you all medical benefits under your personal injury protection. In addition, by failing to timely seek medical attention you will create the impression that whatever happened in your wreck was not responsible for whatever injury you later claim. Insurance companies who defend these auto cases often hire doctors, who have become “medical prostitutes” to the insurance industry. These “hired guns” will likely testify that “if you suffered a real injury in the collision you would have complaints shortly after the impact and you would likely seek medical attention.” So, your strong work ethic or stoic attitude may prevent you from recovering the damages to which you are legitimately entitled.
Following a crash, paramedics may be called to the scene and offer assistance. If so, you should permit these well-trained medical professionals to examine you and document all your difficulties. Whenever an emergency medical technician offers to transport someone to the hospital it is because there is sufficient reason to suspect a potential condition that may require attention by a medical doctor. When your health is at stake, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Indeed, the failure to accept a medical evaluation may lead to a significant delay in diagnosis. Depending on the condition, serious bodily harm can result.
Health care providers emphasize the importance of properly evaluating an accident victim. They recognize that many car accidents put substantial strain on ligaments, tendons, muscles and the spine. Whenever a motor vehicle driver or passenger is physically thrown about, there are forces at play which can easily result in long-term injury. You certainly want to have the important PIP insurance coverage available to cover needed treatment. Everyone involved in a collision therefore should promptly have a thorough initial medical evaluation.
How complete your medical evaluation will be determined by the experience of your medical doctor or the facility which provides the care. Sadly, too many hospital emergency departments and medical providers fail to do more than document complaints, order plain x’rays and prescribe pain medication. Such an evaluation, without more, is unlikely to reveal serious spinal conditions. Plain x’rays can not show tendon, ligament or muscle damage. Further, these studies can not whether an accident victim has suffered trauma to a spinal disk. Herniated disks or disk protrusions can result from the trauma associated with man motor vehicle collisions. Yet, in order to properly determine whether such an injury exists an MRI or a CT scan needs to be performed and read by a competent radiologist. Absent such an evaluation, serious conditions can go unrecognized.
With a medical doctor and lawyer and a board certified civil trial lawyer, our firm can properly review your medical records and medical care and work with you to determine the extent of your claims. If you fully understand your medical condition and your future medical needs, you can better determine what would be fair compensation. We believe that knowledge is power and we empower our clients with the knowledge needed to make wise decisions. If you need expert advice, please contact us now.