Delayed Pain After an Accident
You hop in your car to set out for work or to meet friends for lunch and suddenly you’re rear-ended or struck in the side by another vehicle. You definitely feel the effects of the blow – your body gets jerked around and maybe an airbag pins you to your seat – but otherwise, you feel no pain, just the shock of what happened.
You get out of your car, exchange information with the other driver, and call the police to investigate. When all is said and done, you drive away thinking you were lucky that no injuries resulted.
However, days, weeks, or even months later, you realize you weren’t so lucky, and that the injuries you thought you avoided are finally surfacing. The reality is, at the moment of impact, an adrenaline rush can mask any pain you might otherwise feel. Plus, some injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, can indeed take time to reveal themselves.
You contact your insurance company with a claim for medical services, and you’re told that the window to report your injuries has passed – your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is no longer available. What do you do in that case?
We’ve all heard the word “proactive” and probably felt it applies to other people in other situations, but when it comes to a motor vehicle accident, proactive means to seek medical evaluation as soon as possible after the event.
You also need to report preliminary findings to your insurance company to keep your claim alive. Most of all, you need to contact a car accident/personal injury attorney to make sure all your options for recovery of expenses and lost wages remain open.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in or around Altamonte Springs, Florida, contact me at the Law Office Of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. I have more than 25 years of experience in helping clients obtain the compensation owed to them for injuries they suffered because of other people’s negligence. I will assess the circumstances of your accident and advise you of the proper steps to take following your accident.
My office also proudly serves clients in communities throughout Central Florida, including Seminole, Orange, Osceola, and Volusia, and throughout the counties of Polk and Lake.
Injuries That May Result in Delayed Pain: Symptoms to Watch For
Whiplash and soft tissue injuries often take weeks or even months to surface in terms of the pain and discomfort you feel. Whiplash refers to an injury to the head, neck, or back when the head is thrown about in forward, backward, and sideways motions. The neck is an area of soft tissue, and the problem is that soft tissue injuries are not visible on X-rays.
Some people may have recurring headaches after the accident, but since headaches are a common experience, they don’t equate what’s happening to any new injury. However, headaches can indicate a more serious injury such as a concussion, bleeding in the brain, or even traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Likewise, if you feel pain in your abdomen, don’t ignore it. This can be a sign of internal bleeding that can be life-threatening. Concussions may also take time to reveal themselves. You may start to experience personality changes, memory, vision, or hearing problems, or even depression due to a concussion.
Time Limits to File a Claim
Under Florida law, you have 14 days to report an injury under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, so it is essential to be evaluated promptly and initiate the claims process. If you wait too long, you may have to resort to a personal injury lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is four years in the Sunshine State, dating from the time of your injury or the discovery of your injury if it does not surface immediately after the accident. However, if the lawsuit is not based on someone else’s negligence, the statute is just two years.
Don’t Settle for the First Offer
If you are involved in a claim for injuries with your insurance provider, be mindful that they will do everything in their power to limit their liability. Insurers are definitely in the business of making money, so protecting the bottom line is a priority.
The first settlement offer you receive for your injuries is likely to be at the low – if not lowest – end of what you deserve. Never settle for the first offer for that reason – it’s going to be low – and for the reason that your injuries may require further treatment in the future.
Once you accept a settlement, you cannot go back and ask for more, no matter what happens to you health-wise as a result of your accident. A settlement is final. Make sure you are fully evaluated by medical providers and that your settlement includes consideration of future needs. Better yet, rely on an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you and negotiate with the insurance company claims adjusters.
Take the Proper Steps to Protect Your Health
Your health and well-being are vital not only for your present but also for your future. If you’re injured in an auto accident, make sure you follow the proper path to getting evaluated and treated – even if you feel no immediate pain – and that you also pursue all your legal options.
If you’re in Central Florida, contact me immediately after your accident at the Law Office Of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. I will help you navigate the claims system and negotiate with the insurance representatives to protect your rights and interests fully. If need be, we can also pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Don’t go it alone. Too much is at stake.