If you’ve driven around Tampa Bay, you’ve likely noticed that billboards announcing car accident attorneys are about as abundant as grains of sand on Clearwater Beach. From slogans about how aggressive they are, where they went to law school, or easy to remember phone numbers, there’s a constant reminder of the high number of car crashes in our city and that there’s always a team of lawyers ready to answer your phone call.
But what if you got into a minor fender bender? If you’re only a little sore after a car accident, is it worth pursuing a personal injury claim?
Do I Still Need to Go to the Hospital?
While it is true that sometimes, a minor bump to the back of your car won’t really cause much damage, if you feel even a little bit sore, you should seek medical attention immediately instead of waiting. Here’s why:
When adrenaline is rushing, you are not likely to feel pain to the extent that you would had you not been in such a stressful situation such as a car accident. Hormones course through your body putting you in fight or flight mode. It’s very possible to not even realize you’ve been injured.
In addition, some type of injuries don’t present immediate symptoms, such is the case with a concussion or herniated discs. Some people can go days (and sometimes even longer) unaware that there is something wrong with their health resulting from the accident. In addition to physical injuries, some people have to deal with the emotional ramifications of an accident: For example, if your discomfort turns into chronic pain that prevents you from doing your job or the things you love, it can lead to depression.
Is it Necessary to File a Personal Injury Claim?
The number one reason for seeking medical attention is your health. That being said, it is no secret that healthcare in the United States is often prohibitively expensive. There are millions of people who don’t get the care they need simply because they can’t afford it. However, if your discomfort is the result of a car accident, the cost of treatment shouldn’t be an issue.
Florida law requires every car insurance carrier to provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Regardless of who was at fault, you can file a claim with your own insurance company, and they will cover up to $10,000 in damages (80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages). However, for them to cover anything at all, you are required by law to file your claim within 14 days of the accident. If you don’t see a doctor or file a claim during the first two weeks following an accident because you’re only a little bit sore, and later on it turns out that your injury is more serious than what you originally thought, your car insurance provider will deny your claim, and do so legally.
If after seeing a doctor, it turns out that you have a minor injury, at least get those medical bills covered, as well as any time that you miss from work, and any repairs to your car.
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Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.