It’s common to experience delayed symptoms after getting into a Florida car accident. In the hectic moments following a collision, your body’s stress response can mask pain. Some injuries just take a while to develop or become noticeable.
If you’ve begun to suffer delayed symptoms after a crash in Florida, get medical help and then speak with a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer right away. Chances are, you can still seek compensation from your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and, potentially, the party or parties at fault.
However, you and a lawyer may need to take quick action to preserve your rights. Contact Eltringham Law Group in Fort Lauderdale to speak to a skilled auto accident lawyer.
Delayed Symptoms After a Crash Are Normal
Car accidents can cause various injuries, some of which will typically be apparent immediately, often because the victim sees or feels something wrong.
Other car accident injuries are less noticeable, either because the victim’s stress and adrenaline mask pain, the trauma is internal, or the injuries take days, months, or even longer to develop.
Common car accident injuries that may exhibit delayed symptoms include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), especially concussions
- Degenerative spine injuries (SCIs)
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries such as whiplash
- Deep tissue contusions
- Nerve damage
- Bone fractures
These are merely examples, but they illustrate the diverse range of traumas a car accident victim can suffer without immediately knowing something bad has happened.
Your Rights to Compensation for Injuries With Delayed Symptoms
If you got into a car accident in Florida days or weeks ago and are only now beginning to experience symptoms, you still may have the legal right to receive compensation that covers the cost of your medical care, financial losses, pain, and suffering. But you may need to take quick action and have a lawyer do so on your behalf. Every day that passes after an accident without your injuries being documented by a qualified medical professional can hurt your personal injury case. This is because insurance companies routinely challenge injury claims with significant delays in diagnosis and treatment.
Rights to No-Fault Insurance Benefits
All Florida motorists must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, also known as no-fault coverage, to pay at least $10,000 for their own injuries in a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. If you got hurt in a car accident in Florida, you should be covered by a PIP policy. By law, you must turn to that policy first to cover medical costs and certain financial losses after a crash.
To trigger coverage under your PIP policy and to protect your rights to seek compensation from others, you must receive medical care from a qualified medical professional for any crash-related injuries within 14 days of the accident.
This is a strict deadline. If you don’t seek care within 14 days of your accident, you will lose your right to PIP benefits in virtually all cases, even if you suffer from delayed symptoms. To repeat: If you don’t seek medical care within 14 days of your car accident in Florida, you won’t be able to claim PIP benefits, even if you didn’t know you were injured within that timeframe.
So, if it’s been less than 14 days since your Florida car accident, and you haven’t seen a doctor yet, drop everything and get checked out immediately. Do this even if you feel only minor symptoms or no symptoms at all. For all practical purposes, it’s the only way to claim the benefits you’ve paid for under your PIP coverage.
But if it’s been more than 14 days after your Florida car accident before your first doctor visit, not to worry because our expert accident legal team has successfully handled many claims for victims without PIP coverage available to them.
Rights to Compensation From Liable Parties
Missing out on PIP benefits because of delayed symptoms, does not bar you from seeking compensation. If you sustained significant injuries that saddle you with medical costs and lost income in excess of what PIP would have paid, you may still have the right to demand payment from the party (or parties) at fault for the accident. Typically, your final recovery from the at-fault driver will be reduced by the amount of what the PIP benefits would have otherwise paid had you received medical treatment within that 14 day timeframe. The impact of this is typically quite minimal in the more serious injury cases.
Florida law generally permits you to sue an at-fault driver or someone answerable for that driver’s conduct, for example, if you suffered significant and permanent injuries like loss of bodily function, scarring, or disfigurement. Regardless of the nature of your injuries, you may also have the right to seek damages from others whose careless or reckless actions caused your car accident.
But obtaining compensation from a liable party isn’t easy. To give yourself the strongest chance of securing the maximum available compensation, you’ll need to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to handle your claim. Especially, if, for whatever reason, that you lost your PIP benefits. The sooner you do so, the better.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer at Eltringham Law Group Today
If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a Florida car accident, you may have rights to significant compensation, even if your injury symptoms were delayed. To learn more about your rights and options, contact our firm to discuss your case for free with a skilled Florida car accident lawyer at Eltringham Law Group today.
FAQs About Delayed Injury Symptoms From Car Accidents
How do I know if the pain I feel today resulted from a car accident that happened months or years ago?
Discuss the situation with a skilled car accident lawyer who can, if necessary, connect you with other medical providers who can evaluate the potential connection between your symptoms and the prior car accident.
Why can’t I get PIP benefits if my symptoms only arose after the 14-day deadline for seeking care?
Unfortunately, that’s the law in Florida. But remember, you may still have the right to seek compensation from other sources, and Eltringham Law Group can help.