Personal Injury: First Steps. I have been injured, now what do I do?

By Daniel F. Dickenson, Esq.

Personal injury claims in Florida present a number of variables. What kind of accident you are in, what type of injuries you have and who or what caused the accident are factors that can drastically affect the value of your claim. Fact is, there are certain things you cannot control as a Plaintiff/Claimant, but there are some things you can control. Specifically, treatment.

I often have personal injury clients that come in and have concerns about the nature of the accident, the potential defendant/insured and getting police reports. People want to try to prove and try their case before they have even fully realized the extent of their injuries. This part is the lawyer’s job. As a Plaintiff, the best possible thing you can do is to seek treatment.

If you get into an accident, you must seek treatment immediately in order to avoid the “gap in treatment” defense that the insurance company will inevitably use. Essentially, if you get into an accident, the insurance company believes that if you do not  get treatment immediately, you probably were not that injured. Therefore, a lower reserve or settlement value will be assigned to your case.

Often times Plaintiffs come to me and say that they waited to go to the doctor until the next day, the weekend or the following week just to see if they would get over their injuries. This is one of the biggest mistakes that claimants make.  After an accident, inevitably, there is a period of time when one feels simply sore. Despite the potential for bone, spinal or ligamentous injuries, the swelling that you feel often masks the pain that you will feel later. Once the initial swelling goes down, it stops masking the soreness. This is when people begin to feel numbness, tingling, stabbing pain, shoulder pain and soreness etc.

You do not want to discover that you have had a serious injury and need to make a claim against the other driver after not going to a doctor for a week.  Not only can you put a PIP claim in jeopardy, by waiting, you are giving the insurance companies a built-in excuse to demand a discount on your claim. You best move is to get treatment first, then consult with a Florida personal injury lawyer.

Daniel F. Dickenson, Esq.

Daniel is a trial lawyer specializing in personal injury, insurance litigation and general civil litigation in Boca Raton, Florida.