Today i was involved in an accident where the other driver backing out of their space drove straight into my car ( driver side quarter panel ) while i was stationary . . police showed and the other driver admitted to being at fault . . . they obviously have to pay for the damages to the car which i was quoted to be around grand . . my question is am i able to pursue pain n suffering w / o first seeing a doctor ? ? or will their insurance company try to settle with me so that i don't seek medical attention ?
You should see a doctor right away and also a local personal injury lawyer. If you were my client, I would suggest you see a doctor because the most important thing is tending to your health care needs. While you shouldn't go to a doctor just to manufacture medical expenses, all else being equal, a personal injury claim supported by medical bills establishing proof of injury is more valuable than an unsupported claim, and often the amount of medical bills is used as a rough multiplier in determining the value of your settlement.
Thankfully, and I hope I have not read your question incorrectly, you are not injured. If you have any injury problem, no matter how insignificant, you should seek care. The Law has just changed. If you do not seek care within 14 days of the accident, then you are not entitled to have your insurance company pay any medical expenses. That would be a VERY bad thing if you are injured. So, get care fast- if you have the slightest complaint.
Now, can you get $$ for pain and suffering without care? Technically, "No". You must first have a documented "permanent injury". That is, no jury would be allowed to award $$ for pain and suffering unless it first determined you have a "permanent injury".
Realistically, depending on which company insures the other driver, you may be offered up to around $1,500 real fast. Think long and hard and don't take it right away. Give your body time- up to six weeks to be certain you are not injured. Why six weeks? Because that is how it takes long for certain injuries to become apparent.
Good luck and be well!
I would strongly advise you seek legal counsel. Due to the recent change in Florida's PIP statute, the auto negligence arena is fairly uncharted. The new statute mandates you seek some sort of medical treatment within 14 days, or you could limit the PIP coverage from $10,000.00 to $2,500.00. Also, medical care is crucial when establishing a third party Bodily injury claim. Under Florida law, Statute 627.737(2), there are only 4 ways in which an auto negligence action may occur. These four are 1. Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, 2. Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement., 3.Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement., and 4. Death. To answer you question, if one of these four thresholds are not meant, an insurance company will offer a minimal settlement offer. Seeking immediate medical attention, not only satisfies certain contractual requirements for your Personal Injury Protection, but also begins to establish one of the four threshold requirements in seeking a Bodily Injury Claim. In short, it would be very difficult to pursue a pain and suffering bodily injury claim without seeking medical attention. Your Bodily injury claim would hinge on your current injuries and the permanency of these injuries and the effect of said injuries on the remainder of your life.
You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing. The Guides can be accessed through my profile page on Avvo.com.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
It is very difficult to know exactly what an insurance company representative will try to get you to do, but history tells us they are motivated by only one thing...their money.
You have plenty of time to decide how to pursue with respect to any financial claim you may have.
For now, I suggest you treat for any injuries you may have sustained. As an aside, it's not uncommon for your body to start feeling symptoms days after a traumatic event such as this, as opposed to immediately afterwards.
Go see a local physician ASAP and start a dialogue about any symptoms you may have.
Lastly, call a personal injury lawyer ASAP. Obviously my office practices in your area, but so do other reputable firms. We can all help you thru this confusing time.
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