You didn’t do yourself any favors, but not getting medical attention right after an accident, depending on the facts, shouldn’t end your claim. To succeed, we need credible evidence substantiating why you didn’t seek medical help and expert medical testimony on your injury and its cause.
Why are People Advised to Get Medical Care Right After an Accident?
Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, LLP advises people to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible for a couple of reasons.
- Your health: Your body is in shock after a severe accident. You may not feel pain for hours or days after suffering an injury. During that time, while walking around and living your life, you may accidentally worsen an injury you don’t know you have. The pain may start when you’re in the middle of doing something, like working or driving, and you may become incapacitated, potentially causing more injuries. While examining you, a physician may detect an injury that you can’t feel, start treatment and prevent you from aggravating it
- Evidence of your injury: You must prove that you were injured, the other party caused it, how the injury impacts you, and how you should be compensated. The more and better the documentation of your injury, the better. If you see a physician right after the accident to the next day, that’s a very short time frame, and it’s usually good evidence that the accident lead to the injury
If you follow this advice, you’re taking away a potential defense by the insurance company, making your case stronger, simpler, and easier to prove.
What Harm is Done If I Delay Getting Medical Attention?
In addition to possibly worsening your injury, you open the door to the insurance company claiming you weren’t injured in the accident and or you’re seeking compensation for an injury caused by something else.
The insurance company may claim that not getting medical attention shows you weren’t in pain and were fully capable after the accident. They may argue you only went to see a doctor to try to build a personal injury case that has no merit. They may also agree you were injured, but given your actions, the injury’s not as severe as you claim.
Under the law, you must mitigate your damages. That means you must act reasonably to receive and maintain healthcare to diagnose and treat your injuries. If you didn’t see a physician and made your injury worse, the insurance company can claim that worsened injury is your responsibility, not theirs.
Whatever accident you are in, understand that everything you say and do, or don’t do in this case, may be used against you. You told the officer at the accident scene you felt fine, walked away from the crash, and went home. These things all weaken your case. Seeing a doctor, documenting what happened through their notes, and getting an exam shows you’re serious about your health.
How Can I Make the Best of This Situation?
Get a medical exam as quickly as possible. Tell the doctor everything that happened, how you feel, and when you started feeling worse. That starts the process of documenting your accident.
Write a journal of how:
- The accident happened
- It physically impacted you
- You felt just after it
- Your condition changed over time
Put in words why you didn’t take an ambulance from the scene, drive to a hospital, or see a physician the next day:
- Were you concerned about medical bills and whether you could pay them?
- Did you genuinely feel OK?
- Did you feel overwhelmed by the situation?
- Was there a family crisis you needed to attend to?
Based on your diagnosis, your physician may be able to explain why you felt well enough to leave the scene, and, given that type of injury, it’s not unusual for someone not to feel pain for hours or days.
A “perfect” car accident case is rare. Our clients make mistakes, the police can make errors during their accident investigation, or something can come up in our client’s personal life that makes them want to end a case prematurely. If your case needs more time and effort to achieve a positive outcome, that’s our job, and we’ll do what it takes to help you.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Attorney Today
If you’re in a car accident, contact an experienced attorney at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. as soon as possible. No matter who was at fault or how you’re involved, get professional legal help immediately. Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, LLP will deal with the insurance company so you can focus on your family and recovery.
Call us at 713-893-0971 to schedule a free consultation so we can talk about your accident, how it happened, and how we can help.