Interviewer: Do you see that people are afraid to go to the doctor or they wait too long to see a doctor after a Florida car accident?
Guy S. DiMartino: I see primarily two reasons that people don't initially go to doctor after a Florida car accident. Number 1, they don't want to be bothered. For instance, they just got an accident, they're uptight, their car got towed away and the last thing they want to do is sit in an emergency room for hours. The second reason is that people think they're going to be okay. It's always best to make contact with a healthcare provider within the first day or two after an accident for a number of reasons. First, you may have an injury needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately. Number 2, is that insurance companies look at the time that elapses from the day of the accident to the time the injured person makes first contact with a doctor. Finally, if you do not see a doctor within 14 days, you will not qualify for Florida no-fault or PIP benefits to pay our medical expenses.
Waiting Longer Than a Week to See a Doctor May Have Medical and Legal Repercussions for a Car Accident Victim
Interviewer: How long is too long for someone to wait to see a doctor?
Guy S. DiMartino: If you start to wait longer than a week, you have a lot of explaining to do as to why you did not get to the doctor. We call this a gap in treatment and gaps in treatment really hurt injured people because what the lawyer on the other side will tell the jury this, “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you all have been injured before whether it was playing football or playing golf. What happens when you wake up the next day? You feel like a truck has run you over or you feel sore”. They'll say something along these lines like, “Use your common sense. Do you think if this person was hurt in the accident on May 1st that they wouldn't start feeling pain until May 30th?” So, it's just another hurdle that a car accident victim has to overcome. These cases are all about credibility and the longer you wait the more your credibility goes out of the window because what some cynical jurors saying is, “Oh, first they went to a lawyer. The lawyer told them they better go to a doctor”, or, “Their coworker said, ‘You know something, you should make a claim for that accident', and then, the person went to the doctor”. If your injured in a car accident and you don't receive medical care within 14 days, you will lose your $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (No-Fault Benefits) to pay for your medical expenses and wage loss related to the accident.
Interviewer: How long do these car accident cases take on average? I mean do most of them go to trial or do most of them settle?
Guy S. DiMartino: Most cases settle. I would say 9 out of 10 cases settle. If that wasn't the case, the courts are already backed up; you would never get a case to trial. A car accident case can settle in two days if there is little insurance and a big injury. But generally, cases will resolve a few months after the injured person is released from treatment unless there is a dispute over fault or the nature and extent of the client's injuries.
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