One of the most commonly asked questions following any accident involves medical attention. Those involved in both minor and serious accidents sometimes assume they’re not in need of medical attention if their injuries aren’t obvious or don’t show up immediately. It seems like common sense on some level: if you can’t see an injury, if you cannot find a laceration, if there’s no blood, if there is nothing broken, and you feel fine, everything’s okay, right? There’s nothing wrong with assuming that, but it’s something you should never assume.
Just because you can’t see or immediately feel an injury doesn’t mean it’s not there. Internal bleeding, whiplash, injured organs, and other internal injuries can occur even in a minor accident. The assumption you’re fine is dangerous, because the injuries you sustain can get worse when they’re left untreated. Our advice as Dallas personal injury attorneys? Always see a doctor following an accident.
Here are a few reasons why it’s important for your health and the strength of any potential injury claim you may file down the road:
Why Should I See a Doctor Immediately?
Most medical professionals and legal professionals advise you to get checked out by a medical doctor right away. Even if you feel fine, there is nothing to lose by seeing a doctor following the accident and everything to gain. You’ll feel far better taking time to see the doctor only to find out it’s nothing more than waiting until you feel pain only to find out you are seriously injured. Additionally, if you plan on filing a lawsuit or claim against the at-fault party in the accident, medical records showing injuries are more helpful if they’re issued very shortly after the accident occurs.
Consequences of Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
Imagine this: you got into a car crash and didn’t go to the doctor right away. At the time, you might have thought to yourself “I don’t have any injuries and the other driver was really nice. I don’t want to bother setting up an appointment for an injury I don’t have and I’m only going to file a claim for the damage done to my car.” But, what if you have a pinched disc in your back and you don’t discover it for several weeks or months? Then the doctor bills start piling up and you are stuck with big deductibles and co-pays. In the event of such difficulties, you may find it necessary to pursue a personal injury case simply to recoup your losses for your short and long-term care.
If you wait for three weeks or three months before seeing a doctor, facing lingering pain, and the doctor discovers a damaged disc at that time, you may have done tremendous damage to not only yourself, but your future ability to file a claim in a personal injury case. The insurance company will look at your record of treatment and say, “This person didn’t seek treatment right away. How do we know she didn’t slip in the shower and now she’s trying to blame it on the accident?” In the personal injury field, this is what’s known as a “gap in treatment”. Let’s discuss more below.
The Insurance Company Might Claim There Was a "Gap in Treatment"
Insurance companies deny and shortchange personal injury claims when the records show delayed medical treatment. The term “Gap in Treatment” is insurance industry lingo.
It means there has been a period of time between an injury and when you go to the doctor or hospital. Alternatively, it can be a long delay between one medical visit and the next. When they see such a gap, insurance adjusters are taught to assert that the medical care must not be caused by the accident, and therefore they have no responsibility.
They will at times make up the argument that you “must have” had a subsequent injury or a pre-existing injury that was not their insured driver’s fault. It does not matter to them whether it is true or not. These types of arguments can cause your personal injury damages claim to be valued far less than what you’re losses are actually worth.
If It's Discovered You Have Injuries, Follow the Treatment Plan With Your Doctor
If you go to the doctor and it’s apparent that you actually do have injuries, it’s critical to follow the treatment plan and attend all scheduled doctors appointments. Remember, any gaps in treatment could have negative implications on your case and will give the insurance company the fuel to reduce your compensation.
If you’ve missed appointments, failed to fill prescribed medications, and taken them appropriately, the insurance company will use this as proof that you are not as hurt as you claim to be.
Help your Dallas personal injury attorneys and your case by being an exceptional patient and following up with your doctor regularly. Save any and all empty pill bottles and medication receipts to show how your injury affected you, especially over-the-counter medication that is more difficult to track. In addition, never miss an appointment or therapy session.
Our Dallas Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here to Help You Recover
As Dallas personal injury attorneys, we strongly encourage anyone who has been in an accident to seek medical treatment as soon as they are involved in the incident. It is simply prudent, for both your healthcare needs and for any future claim that you might need to make against the at-fault party.
If you’ve been injured or simply want to discuss your case further, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll answer any questions you may have, can point you in the direction of qualified doctors if you need help, and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.