To Wait, or Not To Wait…
After getting hurt in any situation, should you seek immediate medical attention or wait until your condition improves? Although most people would elect not to seek further medical treatment unless a serious medical condition eventually develops, one should always seek immediate medical treatment regardless of whether one “doesn’t know…” or “feels fine” after a traumatic event. Examples of traumatic events are automobile accidents, slip and falls and even on-the-job injuries. This article will explore several reasons for this logic.
First, medical experts are best qualified to judge injuries. Shock and denial, whether one is conscious of it or not, may follow any traumatic event. One needs an objective expert at a post-traumatic time to safeguard his or her health. Most people should not diagnose their own condition when there is a possibility, no matter how remote, that something could be wrong. An emergency room may be the best place to start. At least the question of whether you have sustained injuries may be put to rest after a visit to a doctor.
Second, many medical ailments, especially soft-tissue injuries (no broken bones), develop after the actual incident. Numerous articles appearing in medical journals such as Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, Spine, Injury, and Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery as well as medical books such as Neck and Arm Pain and Principles of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the Musculoskeletal Diseases document that symptoms of a traumatic event may occur either immediately after or appear any time in the next day or two.
Third, if another is at fault or you are not sure if someone is responsible for your injuries, you should consult with an attorney who practices in the area of personal injury, product liability or worker’s compensation law. If you approach an attorney shortly after a traumatic event, you afford the attorney the opportunity to explore your claim with as few time constraints as possible. Additionally, you may be able to find out whether you have a viable claim from the start.
Fourth, your legal claim may be prejudiced and weakened by the fact that you, the injured person did not seek emergency room aid immediately following an accident or trauma. Although you may have the same injuries whether or not you went to the emergency room or your family doctor following a traumatic event, a claims representative, adjuster or even a jury may question the validity of your injuries and whether these injuries were indeed caused by the traumatic event or by something else –i.e.: a pre-existing condition. Although unfair, any delay may create a “psychological doubt” which may cripple your potential case.
Fifth, current Florida PIP Law requires an injured party to obtain emergent treatment from a medical doctor, dentist, ER physician, etc. for an emergent injury/condition within 14 days of the date of the crash/accident or risk the potential forfeiting of $7,500.00 of PIP benefits, and instead of receiving the full PIP benefits of $10,000.00, without emergent treatment, instead only receive $2,500.00 while paying insurance premiums for the $10,000.00.
In any event, without delay, after seeking emergent medical treatment following an injury, consult with an attorney.
COURTESY OF SOKOLOFF & WEINSTEIN, P.A., ATTORNEYS AT LAW, IN ROYAL PALM BEACH.
(561) 790-6788 / 790-4505