You’ve had an accident, not serious, but you’re kind of sore, dazed, not sure what to do. You figure if you wait a few days, you will get over it and maybe you don’t have health insurance to cover it.
The next morning you can hardly get out of bed, you do, but you’re hurting, maybe you’ll tough it out instead of going to doctor.
You wait a week, maybe more, then finally figure the pain just isn’t going to go away, and you do go to a doctor.
This is a typical reaction to a minor accident, but should you wait for treatment? If you don’t see a medical doctor within 14 days, you will likely lose all of your no fault insurance coverage.
When they finally do go to a doctor, some people find out they have a more serious injury than they realized, and that pain isn’t going to go away, maybe forever.
So what should you do after an accident?
Notify the police, even if a minor accident. Otherwise you may be surprised by what the other driver says later.
If you have a camera or i-phone, take pictures of the scene, particularly car positions and debris. This will prove invaluable unless you are at fault.
Get the names and phone numbers of witnesses, do not rely on the police to do this for you. Be polite, just ask for their name and contact information.
Let your insurance company know right away. All Florida car insurance policies carry a minimum of $10,000 of no fault insurance that will pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost income after the deductible.
If you think you will miss work, go to a doctor right away, the insurance company will likely reject your wage loss claim unless you have a disability note from a doctor.
If you think you may be injured it is better to see a doctor sooner rather than later, if you don’t see a doctor within 14 days you will likely lose ALL of your no fault coverage. Insurers routinely make a big deal if you delay getting medical treatment and try to make it look like you were not really hurt in the accident because you weren’t carted off to the emergency room. Don’t lose your coverage trying to decide whether you’re hurt.
Keep track of what happens to you, record time away from work, mileage to your medical providers, and how the accident is affecting you. Many claims take a long time to resolve and your memory fades.
There are a variety of insurance coverage options available, and you can inadvertently lose some coverage if you don’t understand how they work. A lawyer can help you through the process, and make you aware of what help is available to you.