The Importance of Immediate Medical Care After an Accident
How Delay Seeking Treatment Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
In the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident or a slip-and-fall, you may want to show everyone that you are fine, resilient, and tough. You may even wait to seek medical treatment, either because you assume you’re fine, you’re not feeling much pain or discomfort, or you have other, more pressing matters.
In almost every instance, that’s a mistake. It’s virtually impossible to accurately assess your potential injuries in the moments following an accident. Your body typically responds to trauma by releasing adrenalin, which can mask pain and soreness for hours or days. Additionally, some of the most debilitating injuries can take days or weeks to appear. Delay seeking medical treatment also can be used against you by defense attorneys in a personal injury lawsuit, diminishing or even defeating your claim.
You May Worsen Your Physical Condition
Particularly with internal injuries, delaying medical treatment can have serious, even deadly consequences. You may have internal bleeding or damage to organs, or inflammation might be putting unnecessary pressure on joints or nerves.
You May Not Get Treatment for All Your Injuries
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, you have a much better recollection of exactly what happened, so you’re able to inform medical professionals about all your potential injuries and get timely treatment to minimize complications.Delaying Treatment Can Make It More Difficult to Get Insurance Benefits
As a general rule, insurance companies view a delay between an accident and medical treatment with suspicion. The longer you delay, the more questions you’ll face, and the greater the likelihood the insurance company will conduct an extensive investigation before deciding whether to pay your claim.
Defense Attorneys May Allege an Intervening Cause
In most personal injury lawsuits, the legal basis for recovering compensation is the principle of negligence. In a negligence claim, you must first show that the party from whom you seek damages engaged in unreasonable behavior, e.g., they were speeding, ran a stop sign, or failed to properly maintain property. Most important, though, you must establish that the failure to act reasonably caused the accident and your subsequent injury.
When you seek medical care immediately after an accident, there’s a pretty direct causal link between the accident and your injury. However, the longer you wait to be treated by a medical professional, the more likely you are to be involved in another accident, perhaps of your own doing. Whether or not you actually sustain serious injuries in a subsequent accident, a defense attorney can put doubt into the minds of jury members regarding the actual cause of the injuries from the earlier accident.
Defense Attorneys May Argue That Your Injuries Are Not Serious
Many soft-tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains and muscle pulls, can take days or weeks to manifest, and can have a longer impact on your health. However, if you don’t seek treatment for those injuries for some period of time, defense lawyers will work hard to plant a seed in the jury’s mind that you were not seriously injured and are exaggerating your losses to maximize your recovery.
Contact the Proven Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we bring more than 30 years of experience to people hurt in any type of motor vehicle accident. To set up a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.