After a car accident, slip and fall or any type of personal injury, it is advisable that you seek medical attention. How long you wait can be important to your case. Here are some thoughts with respect to this topic. Remember, that if you are injured go to your local hospital and seek out medical care, never attempt to self diagnose your injuries.
How long is too long
Generally the length of time you wait is proportional to your accident. Here are some examples, if you were in an accident and the vehicle was a total loss, the gap in treatment can be justified. However, if you were in a minor impact and waited several weeks to see a doctor it will likely be detrimental to your case. However, this is not always applicable in every single case and needs to be considered on a case by case basis.
If you were in a minor impact collision it is possible that symptoms or signs of your injuries will not manifest themselves until a later point. Often times after an accident adrenaline acts as a pain blocker, preventing you from feeling the extent of your injuries. However, after the adrenaline wears off you can start to experience serious issues. It is advisable that you consider immediate medical treatment if you feel it is necessary.
Insurance companies will often argue that a gap in treatment is indication that you were not seriously injured. They will argue that “you could not be seriously injured if you waited 2 weeks to see a doctor”. While this is a compelling argument, it is absolutely false. Often times injured parties will wait to see if the pain gets better or they will self treat. It is only after they notice that the pain is not getting better, will they actually consider medical care.
The 72 hour rule:
I have seen a few advertisements, stating you need to see a doctor within 72 hours of the accident or you will not be able to recover. This is absolutely not true. In fact we have had cases successfully settle when there were several months in treatment. However, this is all proportional to your injuries. If you have significant objective injuries the gap in treatment is really not a big issue.
Gaps in treatment can be overcome by showing high value property damage or evaluations by doctors indicating that you were actually injured from the accident. Insurance companies will often take advantage of the fact that many parties do not have health insurance. As a result they will deny coverage on a case in order to avoid having to settle the claim. Make sure you know your rights, even after the claim is denied you can still recover for your injuries.
What if I can’t afford medical care – Medical Liens Can Help
We have written many articles on this topic and it is important to know how the medical billing works in an auto accident case. If you do not have health insurance you can use our network of physicians who will provide medical care for you. What these physicians will do is provide treatment at no upfront cost to you. Upon conclusion of the case they will be paid based on the settlement.
As a general consideration always make sure you get your case evaluated and that you speak with a physician. If you are unable to get a proper evaluation contact your attorney so they can point you in the right direction. Never sign a release until you have been fully evaluated and understand the extent of your injuries. Once you sign a release you will not be able to continue your claim, regardless of your injuries.