Auto accidents are an everyday occurrence in Fort Walton Beach and surrounding areas. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports approximately six million crashes in the United States every year, approximately three million injuries and approximately 30,000-35,000 fatalities depending on the year. The data is compiled ONLY for Police reported crashes so the occurrences are likely higher. In the state of Florida between 2014 and 2016, there was an average of 371,000 crashes, which is just over 1000 crashes per day. There was an average of 241,000 injured occupants, and 2,870 deaths.
As a Fort Walton Beach Chiropractor who has studied MVC injuries at the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, The Center for Research into Automotive Safety and Health, as well as the International Chiropractic Association’s Council on Spinal Trauma, I am intimately aware of the most common crash injuries, diagnosis and treatment. My office has treated these patients, and their injuries on a weekly basis for the last 14 years. So what are the 3 most important things to do after you have been involved in a Motor Vehicle Crash?
1. Remain calm and stay inside of your vehicle until traffic around you has completely stopped. It is often the case that other motorists may wind up having secondary crashes/impacts and you do not want to be outside of the vehicle if this happens. Once you get your bearings it is also important to call the police and EMS if needed to document the crash and do an initial triage of injuries. Do not engage in blame or discussion with the other drives about the crash. The police will handle those details.
2. Call your insurance company as soon as you can. It is imperative that you notify your insurance company representative that you have been involved in a crash so they can properly document the situation and so that a claim number generated. This will allow the process to get started for the repairs of your vehicle as well as medical costs to be properly handled according to your policy limits.
FORIDA REQUIRED BENEFITS – An insurance policy complying with the security requirements of s. 627.733 must provide personal injury protection to the named insured, relatives residing in the same household, persons operating the insured motor vehicle, passengers in the motor vehicle, and other persons struck by the motor vehicle and suffering bodily injury while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle, subject to subsection (2) and paragraph (4)(e), to a limit of $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits resulting from bodily injury, sickness, disease, or death arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle.
3. Seek the care and evaluation of a qualified medical professional sooner than later. Often crash occupants will not experience any pain for the first few days after a crash due to stress hormones, shock, or they will opine that their pain levels are mild or will get better on their own. Unfortunately, this is often NOT the case, and MVC injuries can lead to chronic pain and permanent injuries if not addressed appropriately.
In the State of Florida you have only 14 days after the crash to seek care for any injury. If you are injured in a crash and do not have initial services and care provided to you within 14 days of the crash, you are barred from using your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Meaning if you are hit by a vehicle, believe you are ok, and then one the 15th day you go to a doctor because your back started hurting and it was the first day available, the doctor will not be able to bill your PIP insurer for the bill. No matter how badly you are hurt, you will be barred from the $10,000 in PIP coverage under your policy.
For more information on crash injury, injury management and treatment, chiropractic care, permanent injury determination, guidelines for care, PIP coverage, or additional questions, please feel free to call our Fort Walton Beach Chiropractic office at 850-864-5300.