Frequently Asked Questions - How Long After a Slip and Fall Accident Does Treatment Need to Start?
In short, there is no set rule on how soon one needs to seek medical care after a slip and fall accident in Florida. However, for the safety of your health and your personal injury claim, it is best to seek medical care as soon as possible, whether that is in the form of an ambulance transporting you to the hospital, having a friend or family member drive you to the hospital, making an appointment with your primary care physician or visiting a walk-in urgent care clinic.
As with any personal injury, it is best to seek medical treatment immediately. You may be trying to “tough it out” or are just busy with everyday life and are putting it off. However, this decision will be detrimental to the success of your personal injury case. As when it comes time to negotiate with the insurance company or present your case in court, the insurance company or jury will not take your injury claim as serious if you waited to seek medical attention. For example, if you did not see a doctor until five days following the slip and fall, they will argue that your injuries were not that serious in nature seeing as you did not require immediate medical attention. On the other hand, if you saw a doctor the same day as your slip and fall, they would not be able to take that same stance during negotiations. Even if you chose not to go to the emergency room, it is advisable to seek medical treatment somewhere else where you can be seen as soon as possible, perhaps an urgent care.
Often times, victims of a slip and fall feel instant pain and are aware they have been seriously injured, whether they hit their head, broke their ankle or twisted their knee. They immediately know that they need medical attention and wish to seek the care of a medical professional right away. On the other hand, others are in shock and have adrenaline blocking their immediate pain, or perhaps they are embarrassed that they fell down in front of strangers and simply want to get out of the establishment and get home as quickly as possible. Every situation is different. Still, the end result should be the same, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to receive prompt attention to the injuries that you may or may not know are present. Those who did not experience immediate pain may start to feel the adrenaline wear off and the pain start to surface later that day or even the next day. But waiting to have your injuries tended to can be very dangerous. You may have internal damage or bleeding that you are unaware of and if you continue on about your business, you may be unknowingly exacerbating your serious injuries. The most common injuries in slip and fall cases are broken bones, fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, bruising, sprains and strains, lacerations, and abrasions. Leaving these types of injuries unattended without medical care will certainly cause further permanent damage. They often require orthopedic care, chiropractic care, and physical therapy. So, for your health, it is best to seek immediate medical care, undergo any recommended diagnostic testing, and receive the opinion of a medical doctor before you continue your normal routine.
Aside from safeguarding your health, it is advisable to visit a medical doctor immediately following a slip and fall to initiate a successful personal injury case. If you intend to sue and seek compensation for your injuries, then treating immediately with a physician will certainly reinforce your injury claim. This will ensure that your injuries are immediately and properly documented. Your medical records are the vital and primary evidence your attorney will use to prove that you were injured from the slip and fall. So, if you did not treat right away or did not treat often, the insurance company may not take your claim as seriously. Whereas, if someone sought medical care immediately following the fall and treated regularly with the doctor as was medically recommended, the insurance company would not be able to make that same claim. When you see a physician straightaway, the doctor will clearly state in your medical records that your injuries were directly caused by the recent slip and fall incident. This creates an undeniable link between the accident and your injuries. However, if you decided to wait a week before seeing a doctor for your slip and fall injuries, they may or may not make mention of the accident, and if they do, they will surely dictate that you are seeking care for the first time a week post loss. This can weaken the value of your case in the eyes of the insurance company or jury. The insurance company may even go so far as to conjecture that something else may have happened to you within that week that caused your injuries rather than the slip and fall in question. Also, if there is a pattern in your medical records of large gaps in treatment or missed or cancelled appointments, the insurance company will definitely make the inference that you were not taking your medical care seriously because you were not seriously injured. Not only can lack of treatment have a negative impact on your health, but it also signals to the insurance company and to the jury that you are not as seriously injured as you are claiming. So, it is important to treat as often as you can and as consistently as you can per your doctors’ recommendations.
Even if you treated regularly and did everything that was recommended of you by your doctors regarding your medical care, the insurance company may still dispute your injury claim or at the very least offer to compensate you must less than you deserve. Therefore, we highly urge you to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who handles slip and fall cases daily to fight for your claim and ensure you receive the compensation you justly deserve.