Car Accident Medical Treatment
Although driving is a daily routine for many of us in South Florida, the possibility of a car accident still catches us by surprise. It’s upsetting and jarring and often leaves those involved feeling dazed and unsure of what to do next. Securing proper medical care and treatment after a car accident in Miami or anywhere else in Florida is vital to proving your legal claim. At Gerson & Schwartz, PA our attorneys routinely assists clients seriously injured in auto, car, and motor vehicle collisions. Our Miami car accident attorneys understand the importance of receiving prompt and the right type of medical treatment after a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident or collusion.
After an accident not all doctors may want to treat you. Some doctors may also require you to sign something called a letter of protection. This is used to help protect their bills. Many times, negligence is obvious but victims don’t have the resources to may medical doctors that are needed to treat specific injuries. Without treatment for your injuries, there is no way to prove your injuries legal claim.
At Gerson & Schwartz PA, our Miami car accident attorneys can’t emphasize the need to secure prompt and adequate medical care. It’s equally important to follow up with all recommended necessary medical care and treatment. After a car crash, prompt medical treatment may not be a choice. When a car accident is extremely serious or there are life threatening injuries emergency responders rush to the scene. They will try to stabilize accident victims and quickly transport them to the nearest hospital for more intensive care. However, there are other car crashes in Miami where victims don’t recognize that they are in need of prompt medical care or treatment. Or, they don’t want to make a scene. It’s only a few scrapes and bruises. They don’t want to involve a personal injury lawyer. If you are unsure about the nature and extent of your injuries, our law firm advises all accident victims in Miami to seek medical attention. The unfortunate reality is that some car accident injuries aren’t immediately obvious and injury symptoms may not fully present themselves right away. Failing to seek medical care after an accident may bar your right to other insurance benefits that are designed to protect Florida accident victims.
Medical treatment following a car accident in Miami, Fl. may include:
- Back injuries
- Herniated disk
- Disk bulges
- Injuries to the cervical, lumbar, and thoracic spine
- Broken bones
- Burn injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Closed head injuries
- Soft tissue injuries/ whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve injuries
Gerson & Schwartz, PA has served clients in serious injury and death cases in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and other areas of South Florida for more than 50 years. Car Accident negligence victims should know that personal injury claims are evaluated based on liability and damages. Auto, car, and motor vehicle related injuries are based in part on severity of the injuries that are being claimed. To prove damages for pain and suffering accident victims must show they have a suffered a permanent injury. Usually, it takes medical doctor to diagnose a permanent medical condition. Due to the injury threshold and time frame requirement car accident injury claims should seek prompt medical care from a licensed physician. Any one of the above injuries can have a permanent and long lasting effect on your health.
Failure to seek medical attention within 14 days will likely bar any hope of recovering personal injury protection (PIP) benefits through Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system, per Florida Statute 627.736.
Unless it is truly a very minor fender bender, obtaining prompt medical care is vital preserving personal injury damages stemming from your Miami traffic accident. Even a minor delay in treatment could have an adverse effect on your claim.
If you were injured due someone’s negligence in a car wreck in Miami, we urge you to seek medical care and treatment at one or more of the following:
- Hospitals and Emergency Room
- A Board Certified Orthopedic or Orthopedic Care Facility
- Urgent Care Facility
- A Board Certified Neurologist
From a Miami injury attorney’s perspective, there are a handful of reasons why medical attention after a crash should be a priority. Those include:
- Car Accident victim’s health and well-being. Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage and other conditions may not be apparent at the scene at the crash or to the person involved. Early detection of a head injury can result in a response that may minimize the long-term damage.
- PIP’s 14-Day rule. Due to a relatively recent change in the law, PIP benefits aren’t afforded to those who don’t seek medical attention for their injuries within that two-week window.
- PIP’s emergency medical condition rule. PIP will only cover damages for an “emergency medical condition,” defined in Florida Statute 627.732(16) as a medical condition with acute conditions of sufficient severity (including severe pain) that “absent immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in” serious jeopardy to patient health, impairment to bodily functions or dysfunction of any bodily organ or part. There is not stated list of injuries or exclusions, so determining what will be deemed an “emergency medical condition” is imprecise, at best. What we do know is that seeking medical care right away can
- Proof of crash injury causation. A central element in proving negligence under Florida law is establishing causation. This means that accident victims must prove that any injury claimed was proximately (directly) caused by the crash. When there is a lapse between the accident and the time one receives medical care can open the door for insurance companies or at fault parties to argue that another accident or event caused injuries that are claimed. Getting prompt medical care and attention can often combat this tactic since accident victims injuries can be documented soon after an accident and can be used in the court room to illustrate a definitive causal connection.
- Proof of personal injury damages. Another fundamental point to make in any crash case in Miami, Florida is the total amount of damages. To maximize recovery, we need to show your injuries caused extensive damages. Insurers and other defendants will always attempt to minimize the injuries you suffered. Our Miami car accident attorneys know that medical reports and billing statements are often critical sources of evidence when it comes to establishing causation, as well as the seriousness of the injury.
We should note that your refusal to seek treatment at the scene of the crash or immediately thereafter won’t necessarily bar your claim. However, it may mean your attorney will face a more uphill battle.Who Will pay my Medical Bills?
Florida law requires all owners of a motor vehicle to carry PIP coverage. PIP provides medical benefits and compensation for wage loss to its own insured regardless of who is at fault. As our car accident attorneys advising negligence victims know, auto insurance typically follows the individual. However, PIP coverage follows automobile. A passenger in a covered vehicle would only be covered by the driver’s PIP policy if the passenger lacked their own Personal Injury Protection Benefits.
PIP benefits are also not automatic. Under Florida law, car accident victims must have an emergency medical condition. An emergency medical condition must be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional. This must also occur within 14 days. If not, under Florida law, PIP will only cover up to $2,500 damages. If a determination is made that your car accident medical treatment is necessary because of an emergency medical condition then accident victims are entitled to receive benefits up to $10,000.
Injuries after an accident exceeding that level would allow negligence victims to pursue either a claim for compensation through:
- The at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability policy;
- The plaintiff / driver’s own uninsured/ underinsured motorist policy.
The UM/ UIM coverage would kick in if the at-fault driver didn’t have insurance (as 1 in 4 Florida drivers don’t) or lacked enough insurance to fully cover the damages. If the at-fault driver has an umbrella insurance plan, that would apply too.
If you have a personal health insurance policy, your insurer may cover many of those costs upfront. Keep in mind: Your health insurance carrier probably retains subrogation rights to any car accident settlement or verdict you obtain. Essentially, if you recover damages for medical bills that your health care insurer already paid, your health care insurer has a right to be “indemnified” or “paid back” for medical bills paid on your behalf. This is to prevent double-recovery for medical bills.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, please contact the Miami Car Accident Attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, P.A., for a free consultation by calling (305) 371-6000 or using our online contact form.