How Long Should You Wait to See a Doctor After a Slip and Fall in Florida?
A slip and fall can occur any time and at any place in Florida. For instance, you may slip on a slick floor at a store, stumble down a poorly lit stairway at an apartment complex or get caught on a frayed or torn rug in an office building. If the negligence of the owner or manager of the property caused your slip and fall to happen, then that owner or manager may be liable for any injuries that you suffer.
What you do in the immediate aftermath of the slip and fall will play a critical role in your ability to collect any compensation that you are due. For instance, you should take photos of the accident scene, file a report with the property owner, and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
For reasons we explain below, you should also immediately seek medical attention after a slip and fall accident. If you wait too long, you could put your health and potential injury claim at risk.
Your Health Should Be Your Top Priority After a Slip and Fall
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Right after a slip and fall, you may be in shock. Your adrenaline may run high as well. In that state, you may not immediately notice signs of a serious injury. Also, some injuries are simply hard to detect without a doctor’s examination. For this reason, you should see a doctor as soon as you can. Examples of injuries that people often suffer in slip and falls are:
- Traumatic brain injury – You can suffer a concussion or more severe form of TBI if your head hits the ground, or if you strike an object during a slip and fall. The sudden jolt in a fall may also cause brain damage. Signs of TBI include headaches, nausea, speech and comprehension problems, and heightened sensitivity to noise and light.
- Herniated disc – A blow to the spine or an awkward landing could cause you to suffer a herniated or bulging disc in a slip and fall. The injury occurs when one of the rubbery discs that cushion the bones in your spine, or vertebrae, pushes out. The bulging can irritate nerves and become increasingly painful. Numbness, tingling, or weakness in your limbs can be signs of a herniated disc.
- Ligament damage – A slip and fall can force your body into highly awkward twists and turns. Many fall victims suffer strained or torn ligaments in their knees, especially in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL). Sudden, intense pain and the inability to put pressure on the knee are signs. People can also tear ligaments in the elbows, wrists, and shoulders when they try to brace themselves for a fall.
- Internal bleeding – A fall can cause damage to your body’s organs and blood vessels. Internal bleeding may result from the trauma. The bleeding could become serious and life-threatening. If you experience dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath or chest pains after a fall, those may be signs of internal bleeding.
In other words, regardless of whether you initially observe any injuries, you should see a doctor as soon as you can for the sake of your health. A doctor will know how to physically examine you and can order tests such as a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray in order to determine if you have suffered any injuries. The doctor can also start your treatment and begin your healing process. You should make sure to stick to the doctor’s orders as you move forward.
Can You Use Your Health Insurance To Cover Medical Expenses After A Slip And Fall Accident?
You may be concerned about paying medical bills. Generally speaking, you should be able to use your health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid to cover your medical expenses. If you pursue a legal claim and secure a settlement or judgment, the insurance company will likely try to recoup the amount it provided in insurance. If you don’t have insurance, an attorney who handles your legal claim against the property owner and/or manager may be able to work with medical providers while your case is being resolved.
If the property owner or manager offers to pay your medical bills, you should be cautious. You should not sign any document that requires you to waive legal claims in exchange for payment of your medical bills without first speaking to a lawyer.
An Insurance Company May Try to Use Your Delay Against You
A delay in getting medical attention could affect your potential injury claim against the property owner and/or manager in addition to putting your health at risk. An insurance company will try to use your delay against you. For instance, the insurance company may argue:
- Your injuries did not result from the slip and fall. The insurer may assert that your injuries, instead, arose before your slip and fall or from something that happened to you after the slip and fall.
- Your injuries are not as severe as you claim. The insurer may claim that you could not have been seriously injured if you waited for such a long time to see a doctor and get treatment.
Keep in mind: Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses. They maximize their profits by collecting premiums and paying out as little as possible in claims. So, if you wait too long to see a doctor, the insurance company will likely use that fact to pay you as little as possible or to avoid paying you anything.
Our Florida Slip and Fall Attorneys Are Ready to Help You
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a slip and fall in Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, Hollywood, or anywhere in Florida, you should contact an attorney right away in addition to seeing a doctor. At Englander Peebles, we provide a timely and free consultation, and we will get to work on your case right away. We will thoroughly investigate what happened to you, calculate your damages, demand compensation from the property owner and/or manager (and the insurance companies) and can take your case to trial. In fact, just knowing that you are being represented by experienced and determined trial lawyers may be enough to convince a negligent property owner or manager to take your case seriously and make a full and fair settlement offer. Contact us today to learn more about how our legal team can help you.
At Englander Peebles, we understand the pressure people face when they are seriously hurt in an accident and are facing off against a large insurance company. As the bills mount, so does the stress. And the most frustrating part is that you can be victimized a second time if the insurance company refuses to pay in full, putting your financial future in jeopardy.