The Right Time To File A Claim
We would like to have the case as early as possible. Most of our clients are actually referred to us by prior clients, so they know to call us right away. If their friend said they were in an accident, our past clients generally tell them to call the law firm right away, so we can get started on investigating it. This allows us at the beginning to get the information we need to, preserve the witness testimony, gather all the evidence, and also to follow the person during their medical treatment.
If the person was getting medical treatment, it is usually about 3 to 6 months of “conservative care” or anything noninvasive, meaning that they were being treated maybe 3 times a week and they go to physical therapy. This would be if there were no herniations or any reason they might be a surgical candidate.
After that point the person generally has a final assessment by the doctor stating they reached maximum medical improvement. This does not mean the doctor was saying the person was 100%, but it means the person is at a plateau of medical treatment. At that point we collect whatever medical records and bills that we do not already have.
We usually have already requested the prior medical records if there were any regarding any pre-existing conditions or anything like that. After the doctor finalizes the case, it usually takes 30 days to collect all of the other information we need and we are able to write the demand.
If it was a case where there is not enough insurance, and the victim ended up being a surgical candidate, then we would not wait for the end of the treatment.
If the policy was for $10,000 and the person had a herniated disk, then we would know that just the conservative care itself would exceed that, which is why we would not wait until the very end to do the demand. How we proceed would be decided on a case by case basis.
Is There A Statute Of Limitations On Personal Injury Claims In Florida?
The statute of limitations for a personal injury case in Florida is 4 years for bodily injury and 5 years for UM, meaning uninsured or underinsured motorist.
How Soon Should Someone Seek Medical Treatment?
Under Florida law, the person will lose their PIP benefits if they do not receive medical treatment within 14 days of the date of the accident. This would be $10,000 in medical bills that would have to be paid by the person’s own insurance company. It would be paid at 80% unless the person had Medpay, which is why it would be so important to seek treatment within those 14 days.
I personally think it is important to go as soon as the person felt that the pain necessitated it. People who get into an accident often have neck and back injuries, and they feel a little bit of pain at the time of the accident but then it tends to get worse through the night and into the next day.
The person should go to the doctor right away if this is happening, although they may not necessarily have to go to the emergency room unless they felt it was an emergency accident. Clearly, the person should go if they felt like they were injured right at the accident scene.
Instead of wasting the entire amount of PIP on an emergency room visit, during which they may run a lot of tests that may not otherwise be run and that may not actually be needed, the person can just go to their PCP or they could go to a clinic or something like that to be evaluated. If the person was still having pain the day after the accident, then I would recommend that they should at least go and get checked out.
What If You Started Having Aches And Pains After The 14 Day Period?
Unfortunately PIP would not be responsible, meaning the personal injury protection. However, this would not affect the person’s claim for the bodily injury, against the individual who actually caused the accident. The longer the person waited to receive treatment, the more difficult it would be to argue that the person’s injuries were related to the accident.
Not only that, the longer one waits to receive treatment, the more likelihood there may be of something happening in between that time. If the person has not received any treatment or they had not documented injuries then it would be hard to separate the initial accident and another event. If health insurance is available this can also be utilized to pay needed treatment.
How Do People Manage When They Are Disabled And Waiting For Damages?
This can be difficult. There is a PIP, meaning “Personal Injury Protection” benefits that could pay a portion of the person’s lost wages while they were out of work, but that would only be up to a maximum of $10,000 and the medical bills would also be paid from that amount. Lost wages are paid at 60% of your average weekly wage based on the 13 week prior to the accident.
Once that amount ran out, if the person and their doctors felt they would still not be able to work for at least a period of 12 months from the time of the accident, then they would be able to file for social security disability at the same time they were going through the process of the personal injury suit, which we also handle at our office.
For more information on Filing A Personal Injury Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (813) 873-0180 today.
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