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What Type of Doctor Should You Meet with after a Car Accident?


Car accidents cause a range of injuries, from the mild to life-threatening. Many people suffer fractures, contusions, and concussions in a car accident. Regardless of the severity of the accident, you should promptly receive medical treatment.

Florida’s no-fault insurance laws have complicated requirements that can prevent you from receiving full benefits. If you do not meet with the right type of medical professional, or if you wait too long to receive initial treatment, then you can be denied benefits. Contact one of our Delray Beach car accident lawyers if you have a question about a claim.

What the Law Says

Fla. Stat. § 627.736 states that an insured can receive 80% of reasonable medical expenses but only if they receive “initial services and care” within 14 days of the accident. Further, you must receive initial treatment from an appropriate provider listed in the statute. To simplify, you can receive initial treatment within this 14-day window from:

  • Physician
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • EMT/Paramedic
  • Hospital services

Of course, many people will go to the emergency room soon after a crash to receive initial treatment, but that is not required. For example, receiving treatment from the EMT who arrives at the scene could be enough to satisfy the 14-day rule.

Why You Should Probably See a Doctor

Although the law allows you to receive initial treatment from a chiropractor, there are good reasons not to see them first. The law really has two requirements:

  • Receive initial medical care in 14 days.
  • Be certified as having an “emergency medical condition” to receive full benefits. If not, then the most an insured can receive is $2,500.

Although a chiropractor can provide initial care—and satisfies the first requirement—they cannot issue an emergency medical condition (EMC) certification. Instead, you will need to go to a physician to receive this. It is much easier to kill two birds with one stone, so ideally you should either go to the emergency room or meet with your doctor to receive initial treatment.

Of course, if you meet with a chiropractor in the 14 day window, you should satisfy the timing requirement. You can then get an EMC certification later, as that has no deadline for receiving it.

Obtaining Prompt Care is Vital

There are excellent reasons unrelated to insurance for seeing a doctor right away. The sooner you diagnose an injury, the faster you can receive helpful treatment. Your injuries could worsen otherwise, possibly becoming permanent.

Self-diagnosing an injury can also hurt your case if you ultimately file a lawsuit. Something with a serious or permanent condition can sue outside the no-fault system, but failing to meet with a doctor could impair your case. The defendant might claim you failed to mitigate your injury or that you are even partially to blame for the pain you feel.

For help navigating the legal landscape, contact Earnhart Law today. We can meet for a free consultation to help you get on track to receiving fair compensation for your injuries. Please call 561-265-2220.

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