Get to the Doctor After an Automobile Accident- It will protect your claim and potentially save your life.
by John M. Phillips
There are many reasons to seek prompt medical care after an “accident” also known as a traffic crash. Insurance carriers, when “adjusting” or evaluating your claim for personal injury look at your medical record with a scornful eye. How quickly you sought care and how often are signs, to them, of just how injured you are and effect the value of your claim. Further, documentation of the details of an accident are vitally important because the police are often only focused on the time they are on the scene, rarely follow up and this sometimes creates major holes in proving a case or getting an insurance carrier to see the case properly and evaluating it accordingly.
Further, some injuries do not manifest themselves until weeks after a traffic crash. According to Florida Today, late arriving injuries have been especially prevalent in 2011, a year in which over 50 deadly wrecks have been reported in Brevard County, alone. Of the 33 investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol, 10 of them were labeled “delayed fatalities.” Only seven such accidents occurred in all of 2010.
What is a delayed fatality? A delayed fatality is a death which occurs at any time after the person who died has been removed from the scene of collision but no more than thirty (30) days after the date of the collision. In other words, there were hidden or untreated injuries that lingered, but were ultimately fatal or caused death.
Highway patrol and police agencies do not extensively investigate crashes in which the injuries initially are not considered severe. Once their initial report is done, they rarely supplement. It is up to you to document your injuries- not only for your own health, but to protect your case / claim.
Further compounding the problem of missing information in police reports is it is only when injuries are serious, can law enforcement forcibly draw blood from the driver, police and prosecutors said. They do not where injuries are not as apparent, internal or visibly less serious. And if the motorist already has been ticketed, in most cases, the authorities said double-jeopardy rules prevent police from filing criminal charges if a victim dies weeks later. We encourage wreck victims to call or email us as soon as possible after an accident. Take photos and on the scene and treat every accident as serious.
This trend could easily change the way police are required to investigate crashes that seem minor.