Although there is no specific law requiring a person to seek medical care within a certain time after a motor vehicle accident, it is best that a person seeks medical treatment right away. Ideally, a person should be treated on the day of the accident. A delay in treatment or failing to see a physician as soon as possible is a mistake for two reasons.
First, your health should be your first priority. It is common for a person following a motor vehicle accident to suffer with neck or back pain. Often people take an over-the-counter medication such as Advil, hoping the pain will simply go away on its own. However, a medical doctor, chiropractor or health care provider is trained to take a history, perform a full examination that may include X-rays or other diagnostic studies, and recommend a course of treatment if necessary. In this regard, you are always better off treating with a doctor to obtain an expert opinion as to the nature and extent of your injuries.
Second, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that the insurance carrier does not discount your damages. If there is a large delay in treatment following an accident, often the insurance carrier takes the position that your injuries were not caused from the accident, simply because you did not seek treatment right away.
How Can Gaps In Care Hurt Someone's Auto Accident Claim?
After you begin treating with a physician for your injuries it is important that you follow your doctor's advice and follow up with regular medical treatment or therapy until your case is concluded. Depending on the nature of a person's injuries and the required treatment, auto accident claims may take one to two years to conclude. Sometimes during the course of a case, a person may neglect to follow up with a doctor for several months. This lack of treatment creates what is called a “gap in treatment” which the at-fault insurance carrier may use against you when reviewing the case.
In many cases, there are gaps in medical treatment following car accidents because people are fearful of incurring additional medical bills or simply feel that they can go it alone rather than get the medical treatment that they need.
However, when you fail to treat for a significant period of time following a motor vehicle collision the insurance carrier will typically argue that you were not injured or significantly injured in the car accident. Or the insurance carrier will argue that because of the gap in treatment, you did not do everything in your power to mitigate or lessen your injuries or damages following the car crash.
For these reasons, it is important to follow up with regard to medical care until your case is concluded. For more information on Medical Care After An Auto Accident, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (386) 223-1651 today.