After an accident, get prompt medical attention

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Written By PeterLogan

Founded by a collective of barristers, solicitors, and academic legal experts, PreferLaw began as a conversation over how to bridge the gap between legal professionals and the lay public.





Protect Your Health

If your injuries are severe, it is painfully obvious that you should see a doctor. It can be tempting not to seek medical attention if you don’t believe you have been seriously injured or if your injuries seem minor. Even the smallest symptoms may indicate a serious injury. If left untreated, it is more likely that things will get worse. If you feel any discomfort or pain, seek immediate medical attention.

To confirm your injuries, you will need medical care

You will need to provide evidence if you decide to file an injury-related lawsuit or insurance claim. The other side (the one at fault in the accident and/or their lawyer) will want more than your words about the extent and nature of your injuries. However, unless you consult a doctor, you won’t be able to get a full picture of the extent of your damage.

Maybe your shoulder hurts when lifting your arm. Is it a strain, a sprain or a tear in the rotator cuff. Even if you knew the answer, you still need to consult a doctor to obtain medical documentation and determine the best course of action. It is very difficult to get compensation for personal injuries without documentation.

You may need medical attention under your insurance coverage

Keep in mind that certain states may require you to see a doctor if you have been injured in a car crash. In some states, no-fault insurance requires that individuals see qualified medical professionals within a specified time after an accident. Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP), for instance, gives drivers 14 days to seek medical attention for injuries sustained in an accident.

Medical Treatment Can Help Establish Causation

It is easier for someone (such as an insurance adjuster) than you to wait to see a doctor following an accident to prove that your injury was not caused by the accident.

Let’s suppose you are a delivery driver. One day, on your way home from work, you are rear-ended by another driver. Although your lower back hurts, the pain isn’t too severe so you don’t go to a doctor immediately. The pain worsens over the next week, and you finally decide to see a doctor.

Waiting can make your injury seem less severe

You don’t need to follow the law for one second. Imagine someone coming to you with a serious injury from a slip-and-fall. They also confess that they didn’t go to a doctor for it until three weeks after they fell. Consider another person who claims the same thing but went to the emergency department just hours after falling.

Which person are you more likely to believe has sustained the most severe injury? The same goes for judges, insurance adjusters, and judges. Waiting to see a doctor can lead to questions about your injuries.

Waiting Can Reduce Your Settlement

Insurance adjusters love to settle claims as soon as possible. This makes them look good to their bosses. Insurance supervisors are attracted to adjusters who are able to quickly process claims.

Insurance companies also want to settle claims quickly because they often pay less. If you have not seen a doctor yet, it will be easier to accept the personal injury settlement offer from your insurance company.

A settlement check may seem generous when you don’t know the extent of your injuries and the costs associated with treating them. A $5,000 settlement for your sore back might seem excessive until your doctor diagnoses that the “minor” back pain that you have experienced since the accident is actually a lumbar spine injury that will need surgery and physical therapy. Once you accept the settlement, you cannot ask for more.