Why Should You Seek Medical Treatment After A Car Wreck?
You’re in a car wreck and people sometimes think it wasn’t that big of a deal. Maybe it is just a little neck pain or a little back pain and you don’t really want to go to the ER. People are going to make excuses for not going. If you’re having symptoms after a car wreck, you should absolutely go to the ER or urgent care.
Reasons You Should Seek Treatment After A Car Accident
1. To Ensure Over All Well Being – Especially after the adrenaline from the accident has worn off.
There could be something going on more serious than you realize. And the ER is the place to diagnose that. The ER is not there to diagnose all of the issues that could be going on with you after a car wreck, they are only going to diagnose life and limb-threatening issues.
There are a multitude of injuries that could end up well into the six figures in value and are serious life-altering injuries that can cause you to lose value in your potential car accident case if you leave the ER and don’t follow up after you receive the standard “clean bill of health” or “cervical strain back strain.”
2. Treat “Invisible” Injuries – Injuries that show up a few days/weeks later – re: concussion. Don’t delay since the insurance company may refute.
The reason it’s important to go if you’re having symptoms is that the insurance company who’s going to be on the other side of all these claims, whether you have a lawyer or not, are going to make the argument that the longer it takes you to go to the ER or seek treatment, the less serious your injury must have been, or perhaps, maybe the cause of it was something other than the car wreck.
3. To Obtain Evidence- Medical Records Can Be Important Pieces Of Evidence To Help Establish Case.
If you don’t want to go to the ER simply because it’s the right medical thing, then it is certainly the right legal thing to do because it documents your injury. It documents the timing of your injury and symptoms, and it takes away the argument that you didn’t need treatment immediately.
Paying For The ER Visit and Treatment.
The other thing that comes up a lot of times is when people say they don’t want to spend the money on an ER visit because it’s really expensive and it’s going to cost a lot of money. In Florida, the status of the law right now in 2021 is that your car insurance by law, not your health insurance. Your car insurance has to pay the bills after a car wreck.
Why Does Your Car Insurance Have To Pay?
Florida has PIP law (Personal Injury Protection) PIP covers 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses up to $10,000 resulting from a covered injury, no matter who caused the crash.
Most medical costs will be covered by PIP with the exception of popular, but not widely accepted practices such as acupuncture. In other states, PIP will generally cover the injuries of anyone in your household, but in Florida, you can choose whether you want your PIP to cover just yourself or other residents in your household. The following are eligible for a PIP claim:
- Medical services and medication
- Surgical services and hospital expenses
- Rehab costs
- Diagnostic services
- Ambulatory services
What sets Florida apart from other states is that only 80% of your medical costs will be covered by PIP. So if you have injuries that cost $10,000, PIP will only pay for $8,000 of that. Furthermore, if your injury is not considered an emergency, you will only be entitled to $2,500 worth of benefits. If you have a good health insurance policy, it might take care of the rest of the costs, but you should make sure it will cover car accident injuries.
4. Counter The Claims Of The Insurance Company.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company is going to make this argument, if you say, well, I didn’t know that I didn’t have to pay. Right. I was gonna have to pay something. The car insurance company on the other side of the case is going to say, well, you could have gone to seek treatment and it would have been free. Basically, your PIP would have paid the bill. Why didn’t you go?
You can’t say, well, I didn’t know. Or you can say, I didn’t know, but at some point, it’s not going to make sense for you not to go, especially after you’ve got a legal action started.
It’s always smarter, if you’re having symptoms and Florida, you don’t have the financial excuse because your car insurance pays that.
And as far as you not thinking, it’s that serious, right? Well, you don’t know because you have no idea what going on inside your body. But if you’re having symptoms after a car wreck and if you’re teetering on not going to the ER, you should go, okay. It’s that simple.
MOST OF THE TIMES THE SYMPTOMS GET WORSE ON THE FOURTH OR FIFTH DAY.
Most of the time injuries that are permanent don’t go away. .
Refer to the car wreck checklist for more info on what to do right after you’ve been involved in a car accident.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.
Car Accident Lawyers in Pensacola, FL
If you’re involved in a serious car accident and you or a loved one are seriously injured, it can be a major disruption to your life, your income, and your daily state of mind.
Unfortunately, in many serious auto accident cases the situation is made worse by insurance companies that refuse to pay what they should when your life is turned upside-down.
At Zarzaur Law, our accident lawyers fight the insurance companies and get justice for our clients. Our clients have been awarded record-setting verdicts in both Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.
Joe Zarzaur is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar and is AV PREEMINENT Rated, the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell.
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED FLORIDA CAR WRECK QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. I was in a car accident in Florida and I hear it’s a no-fault state, what does that mean?
FLORIDA is one of the states that has a different system when it comes to car insurance. The car insurance law in Florida requires that everyone purchase “no-fault” coverage (a.k.a. personal injury protection or “PIP” coverage). This coverage is generally a minimum of $10,000 and provides compensation to drivers in an accident, regardless of who was at fault in causing the collision. The PIP COVERAGE PAYS 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages, so long as they are related to the wreck. What’s even more surprising is that your OWN PIP coverage pays for your medical and lost wages even if the other party is at fault for the wreck. Keep in mind, this only applies to the first $10,000 in bills and wages. Once your PIP coverage has paid the maximum amount ($10,000), the focus is then on the at-fault driver to make sure that any other medical expenses are covered. This is where the lawyers and staff at Zarzaur Law, P.A. can assist in recovery for your injury case.
2. The at-fault driver’s insurance company appears to be dragging their feet on accepting responsibility for this wreck, even though it was clear at the scene that they got a ticket for causing the wreck.
First, it’s important to understand that contrary to their feel-good TV advertisements, insurance companies are not in the business of making wrongs, right. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and will do so at all costs.
The typical process for an insurance company following a car wreck includes:
a. The at-fault driver’s insurance company doing their own investigation after a wreck regardless of what the investigating Trooper concludes at the scene, and if their insured driver received a citation for the wreck.
b. The wreck report is usually not available until a few days after the wreck. The document provided at the scene of the accident is not the wreck report. The wreck report will be titled the “Long Form” or “Short Form” Florida Accident Report and will be several pages with a diagram on the last page depicting the position of the cars at the time of the impact. The abbreviated document provided by the Trooper at the scene of the wreck is called a Driver’s Exchange of Information, and only has the identities of the persons involved in the wreck and their respective contact information.
c. 99% of wrecks in Florida involve the issue of a ticket to the at-fault party. HOWEVER, THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AT-FAULT DRIVER’S INSURANCE WILL AUTOMATICALLY ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will still conduct a full investigation which usually involves taking a recorded statement from their driver and anyone in the driver’s car. THEY MAY ALSO TRY TO GET YOU TO GIVE A STATEMENT AND YOU SHOULD NOT SINCE IT IS NOT VITAL TO THEIR INVESTIGATION AND WILL LIKELY ELICIT SOMETHING THAT COULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO YOUR INJURY CASE.
d. The at-fault driver’s insurance company investigation takes about 7 to 10 days following the wreck and they like to treat you like they have all the time in the world. They know that the more desperate they make you feel the more likely you will just take what they offer you and not hire a lawyer to help you.
To speed up the process you can do a couple of things:
1. Hire a lawyer for your injury case. This important step usually makes the insurance company stop playing games, even with the car (property damage) issues.
2. File a claim through your own car insurance company for your losses. Have your car insurance company pay for your car, they will then get reimbursed by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, once they have completed their investigation. This second option assumes you have purchased full coverage for your insurance (in this context collision coverage). If you have full coverage then your insurance company can pay for your vehicle repairs immediately and then they will worry about the at-fault driver’s insurance company reimbursing them. This is the quickest and smartest route to take if you have full coverage.
If you don’t have full coverage, you will have to wait on the at-fault driver’s insurance company to finish their investigation.
3. Can I get a rental car and does the at-fault drive have to pay for it?
YES – you can get a rental car. NO – the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not obligated to pay for the rental car. While this may not seem to make sense, the at-fault driver’s insurance is not legally required to give you a rental car. The only “rental car coverage” is one that would be on your own car insurance policy. It is an optional coverage that is not often purchased, but if you have paid for it, you should use it.
The at-fault driver’s car insurance ultimately has to pay for your property damage called “loss of use,” for each day that you are not able to use your vehicle. So many times the at-fault driver’s car insurance will offer a rental car in lieu of having to pay you for “loss of use”. The at-fault insurance company also offers a rental car to sometimes keep a good rapport with you in hopes that they can convince you to not hire an injury lawyer and to settle your injury case for nothing.
4. When I go to the ER, what insurance information do I need to give them?
According to Florida Car Wreck Law, the only insurance that can pay for the first $10,000 in medical expenses is YOUR OWN PIP COVERAGE. The hospital should ask you for the name of YOUR car insurance carrier and possibly a claim number. Many times you will not have a claim number, but as long as you give them the name and policy number, the hospital billing department can determine where to send the bill for payment.
The hospital may ask for your health insurance carrier as secondary coverage, and you certainly should not hesitate to give them this information as well. There is no need for the hospital to have the name of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy since it will not pay for anything until a personal injury lawyer, like Joe Zarzaur, requires them to.
5. Can I handle the “Car Part” of the claim without a lawyer?
Yes, and you should, BUT be very careful not to discuss your injury claim with the insurance company, since they are COMPLETELY SEPARATE CLAIMS. The injury claim and the car (also known as “property damage” claim), are distinct claims and are not even handled by the same adjuster. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will assign a property damage adjuster and an injury adjuster to the claim.
You can and should talk to the property damage adjuster since they are only involved in determining if the car is totaled or handling getting it fixed. Zarzaur Law, P.A., a personal injury law firm, rarely, if ever, get involved in the property damage portion of the claim. The property damage claim is usually resolved within 10 to 14 days after the wreck. The value of a car is something that is not really negotiable and both you and the adjuster can access this information online. Kelly Blue Book or NADA will have tools you can use to assess the value of your car by make and model.
6. Should I give a statement about my injury to an adjuster without a lawyer?
NEVER GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT TO AN ADJUSTER WITHOUT A LAWYER. This is the oldest trick in the book and standard practice for most insurance adjusters. They actually get bonuses based upon how many injury victims they get on record talking about their injuries. The insurance companies want you to speak with their adjusters who are trained to get you to say things on the recorded line that minimize your injuries and then later, once the injuries have been fully diagnosed and the adrenaline has worn off, use against you and your injury case.
Insurance adjusters may make you believe that not giving a statement about your injury it will slow the claim process down – this is NOT true. The injury claim is 100% separate from the property damage claim. It is also very important to understand that insurance companies really want to deny the claim. If the insurance adjuster gets you on a recorded line and gets you to say something that appears different from what you told them when your purchased the policy, they can use that fact to deny coverage. It is recommended that you have a lawyer, like those at Zarzaur Law, P.A., on the phone with you before anything is recorded.
If you are asked to give a “recorded statement” so that they can get the claim started…..Refuse to give the recorded statement without a lawyer. If the insurance claims adjuster insists, tell them you will call a lawyer right away, since they are not giving you any other options.
7. Does it cost money to get advice from Zarzaur Law, P.A., even if I am uncertain about my injury?
No. All advice and counsel up to the point of recovery of money is FREE. The lawyers at Zarzaur Law offer free advice to clients and non-clients alike as part of our business practice, and it is customary in this field of law to provide this service. We only collect fees and costs if we actually make a monetary recovery for your injury case. Once we are retained as your personal injury firm and you sign our firm’s contingency fee contract, you then are agreeing to pay us, but ONLY IF WE WIN AND GET YOU MONEY. If we lose or do not get a monetary recovery, then you don’t owe us anything.
8. If I get discharged from the ER after a wreck and they say I am OK, does that mean I don’t need an injury lawyer?
NO. The emergency room is not there to diagnose every injury. The emergency room has one mission – to make sure that everyone seeking treatment there is not going to DIE or lose a limb within the next 24-48 hours. If you don’t fall into the class of severity (DEATH OR LIMB LOSS), you will be discharged from the ER with a general diagnosis and told to follow up with your primary doctor or a specialist.
Visiting the ER is just the very start of your injury case. Most of Zarzaur Law’s clients that end up with verdicts and settlements well into the six figures, left the ER with the same or similar paperwork noting “cervical strain,” “lumbar strain,” or “Whiplash injury”. The reason the ER is not in the business of providing a full diagnosis for every patient is that doing so would prevent them from accomplishing their main mission of preventing immediate death or loss of limb. Being discharged from the ER only means that the doctor felt that you were not going to die or lose a limb in the next 24-48 hours. The ER diagnosis is very basic and thus you should not read into your discharge from the ER as meaning anything about the full extent of your car wreck injury.
9. The ER told me to follow up with my primary doctor. When I called their office, they told me they don’t accept car wreck-related injuries. I have been a patient there for many years and don’t understand why they won’t see me.
Unfortunately, this issue is extremely common. There are two basic reasons:
1.How Does PIP Work If You Have Another Car Accident in Florida? PIP insurance is the only insurance that can pay for any of the first $10,000 in medical treatment. Health insurance claims will be denied until the $10,000 in PIP has been fully used and the health insurance carrier receives proof that the PIP benefits have been exhausted. Most healthcare facilities are not set up to bill automobile insurance, since their systems are set up to bill health insurance, and for this reason, many physician offices prefer to steer clear of automobile cases.
2. Many doctor’s offices do not like to deal with litigation cases due to the time required to answer calls and respond to medical records requests from law offices, like Zarzaur Law, and in some cases, having to provide testimony about the patient’s treatment.
10. What else should I do to make sure that I protect all of my rights following a car wreck?
Zarzaur Law, P.A. promotes a list of tips for easy reference in the event you are involved in a wreck — CARWRECKCHECKLIST.COM. This resource contains 10 very important pieces of advice for those who are the victims of a careless driver. Click the carwreckchecklist.com link to be taken to this list.
Be confident you have a legal expert on your side.
Have you sustained an injury due to someone else’s careless driving?