Auto accidents are unexpected and stressful. In all of the chaos surrounding an automobile accident, it is important to remember to seek medical treatment for any injuries you sustained. While, thankfully, not all accidents result in major injuries, minor injuries can also be debilitating. In the shock following an accident, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether you have suffered an injury at all. Therefore, once the hustle and bustle of the accident scene has been cleared, you should be evaluated to make certain that you have not been injured and, if you have been injured, to seek treatment.
It is important to know that under the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law Amendment which took effect on January 1, 2008, every motor vehicle owner and operator is required to maintain Personal Injury Protection. (Florida Statutes 267.7407(1)). Under this law, your auto insurance policy must provide personal injury protection, subject to certain statutory requirements, of up to a limit of $10,000 in medical and disability benefits. However, in order to receive this benefit, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the motor vehicle accident (Florida Statutes 627.736(1)(a)). This means that the $10,000 in coverage that you pay for with your insurance company will be severely limited if you do not obtain initial medical treatment or care within 14 days following a motor vehicle accident.
Second, just because your vehicle only sustained a few dents and scrapes does not mean that your injuries will be minor. Even in the smallest accident, the driver’s and passengers’ bodies will be jolted in various directions, while at the same time being restrained by a seat belt. Think of the countless car commercials you have seen showing crash tests where the dummies are thrown around the inside of the vehicle. Most people conclude that injuries sustained in an automobile accident will be related to whiplash or a spinal injury. However, with the increase in seat belt compliance rate, there has also been an increase internal injuries. Since physicians and accident victims are typically distracted by external injuries, there can sometimes be a delay in diagnosing these underlying, yet severe, injuries.
While the safety of those at the scene of the accident and those with life-threatening injuries are of the upmost importance, it is crucial to remember to see a medical professional and have your injuries evaluated within 14 days of the accident. Even if your injuries only seem minor, there is always the possibility that they could develop into something more serious further down the line. In seeking treatment within these 14 days, you will have preserved your right to treat your accident-related injures under your personal injury protection benefits.
In the case of an auto accident, the St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys at Ludin Law will assist you to make the proper the timely decisions in dealing with your case.