Can I Wait To See a Doctor After An Accident?
Don’t wait to see a doctor after an auto accident. Never. Getting checked out is the first thing you should do, and don’t discuss your condition with anyone but your doctor and your lawyer.
Go straight to the nearest urgent care clinic or emergency room for evaluation and treatment whether you feel injured or not. Ask your physician to document all findings.
Next, contact an experienced car accident attorney and schedule a consultation. Avoid the insurance companies until after you speak with a lawyer.
How Long Can I Wait to See a Doctor After Being Injured in a Wreck?
You shouldn’t wait, but if you do, you’ll have three days (72 hours) to get checked by a physician or a chiropractor. Three days are considered a “reasonable” amount of time to get treated for injuries.
If you wait longer, the insurance companies will claim that you aren’t really injured. They will determine your settlement amount accordingly, and not in a way you will like.
Although some injuries are immediately apparent, other injuries may take days, weeks or even months to appear. It’s always best to see a doctor now whether you have injuries or not. If symptoms develop later, they should be treated then.
What If I Wait More Than Three Days to Get Medical Care?
You may still be able to recover your losses in a personal injury case. Most states allow two years during which to file a personal injury claim under the statute of limitations.
Remember that the longer you wait, the harder it will be to substantiate your case. Nevertheless, you may still receive a settlement with the help of an experienced car accident attorney.
Do I Lose My Right To File a Claim If I Don’t Visit the Hospital Immediately?
You can file a claim as long as you do it within two years of the date of the crash. You have the right to file an accident claim whether you go to the hospital or not.
On the other hand, you must be checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Information obtained by a doctor about your condition is a crucial part of proving your injury.
Gather evidence of your injuries and document everything. But remember that the longer you delay those doctor visits, the harder it will be to establish your case.
Why Is Prompt Medical Attention So Crucial?
If you don’t see a doctor, the insurers can claim that you were not injured. Your injuries may be chalked up to new or preexisting conditions that have nothing to do with the crash.
On the other hand, medical records documenting your visits, symptoms and injuries provide solid evidence to substantiate your claim. This information shows that you were concerned enough about your condition to get prompt medical care.
There are other reasons to act quickly:
- TBIs sustained in an auto wreck are unpredictable. Symptoms can develop later or change course without warning. Injuries that initially appear minor can escalate, worsen or change form altogether.
- Delaying or ignoring treatment for minor injuries can cause them to become major injuries.
- Injuries that are not immediately noticeable may nevertheless require emergency medical attention.
- Postponing treatment for delayed injuries could result in a longer and more difficult recovery process, long-term disability or even death.
Why Do Accident Victims Delay Medical Treatment?
Here are a few possible reasons:
- You don’t realize that you have been injured.
- You can’t justify spending six hours in a hospital emergency room when you feel just fine.
- You have no health insurance.
Why Waiting to See a Doctor Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
To receive fair compensation for your injuries, you must be able to show that those injuries occurred because of the wreck.
The longer you wait to see a doctor and establish the validity of your claim, the more likely the insurance companies are to claim that your injuries resulted from an activity that occurred before or after the accident.
They will argue that if you had been injured because of the wreck, you would have seen a doctor immediately. If you waited a week to see a doctor, it suggests that your injuries could not have been that bad.
Because you didn’t see a doctor right away, the value of your settlement in court may be significantly reduced or denied altogether.
It’s never too late to get medical treatment for your car accident injuries. Seeing a doctor now is better than not seeing a doctor at all.
Will My Compensation Be Reduced Because I Waited Too Long to See a Physician?
Neglecting to see a doctor right away does not affect your eligibility to receive compensation.
Delaying a physician visit can, however, reduce the amount of compensation you receive. It also makes your personal injury case harder to prove.
A seasoned auto accident lawyer can shift attention away from a delayed doctor appointment and focus on elements of the case that substantiate your position.
The type of harm you experienced, the evidence of your injury and when you finally saw a doctor can all be used to strengthen your claim.
If your compensation is reduced, it will probably remain within the average range as long as you can prove your injury and document the degree of pain and suffering you experienced.
What If I Waited to See a Doctor Because My Injuries Developed Later?
An experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to build a case that the delay in seeing a doctor was because your injuries took so long to develop. That may be enough to validate your claim.
Common Auto Accident Injuries That Typically Appear Later
Soft tissue injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are most likely to evade detection immediately after an accident. Concussion is a common type of TBI that occurs when the brain experiences a trauma.
Concussion can occur in accidents when the head jerks forward and the brain hits the inside of the skull. You can get a TBI in an accident without direct impact on the head. There are many symptoms associated with concussion and TBI:
- Balance problems
- Seeing stars
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of consciousness
- Ringing of the ears
- Brain bleeds
- Blood vessel damage
- Nerve damage
This injury can eventually cause restricted movement and chronic, severe neck pain. If you are experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor right away. Even if you were treated after the accident, you should visit your doctor for an update.
Soft Tissue Injuries
These injuries can cause mobility issues and insufferable pain in the tendons, muscles, ligaments and other soft tissue. Reconnect with your doctor at once if you suspect that the accident caused soft tissue damage.
To receive your rightful compensation, tell your doctor about every symptom and ask for detailed documentation. Don’t be upset if people call you a hypochondriac. Take good care of yourself, and the rest will take care of itself.
Will My Injuries Get Worse If I Don’t See a Doctor Right Away?
It depends on your injuries. Putting pressure on injured body parts without seeing a doctor for proper treatment can make the injuries worse. The result can be a longer and harder recovery.
What About Mitigation of Damages?
Also called the doctrine of avoidable consequences, mitigation of damages holds that “an injured party cannot recover unreasonable expenses related to their injury when they could have avoided such expenses with reasonable effort.
In other words, you must ensure that you are not injured even more. Putting off crucial doctor visits to document your claim could be seen as failure to mitigate damages, and your settlement may be reduced accordingly. These cases can be highly complex.
If you have delayed treatment for a car accident injury, your best bet is to consult an injury attorney immediately. You won’t pay a fee unless you win. If you lose, you pay nothing.
To speak with a lawyer, call JT Legal Group to schedule a no-cost consultation to evaluate your situation. If we agree to represent you, we’ll take care of the insurance companies and negotiate with the defendants while you take care of yourself.