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The Importance of Timely Medical Treatment in Personal Injury Cases

Published January 29, 2024 by Harker Injury Law

The Importance of Timely Medical Treatment in Personal Injury Cases

Getting timely medical treatment can make the difference between a swift recovery and living with ongoing problems. For example, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions, are common in personal injury cases. A 2021 study found that delayed or inadequate treatment of TBIs could result in avoidable detrimental long-term effects on people’s lives.

Be aware that failing to seek and receive prompt treatment could make it difficult – or even impossible – to get fair compensation after an injury, which may be more serious than it seems at first. The flood of hormones, such as adrenaline, coursing through the body after an accident can mask the pain of injuries. As a result, injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Thus, promptly seeking medical attention is vital – no matter how you feel. Then, as soon as you feel well enough, contact our experienced California personal injury lawyers. We at Harker Injury Law can guide you through making a legal claim, doing all the heavy lifting for you.

1. Document Your Injuries

Seeking medical treatment is crucial for protecting your legal rights. This step will help you build a clear picture of the injuries you sustained in the accident.

Common injuries among personal injury cases include the following.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)

Moderate to severe TBIs can have long-term consequences, but the symptoms may not show up immediately. However, medical professionals are trained to spot the signs of TBI and provide timely treatment.

While you seek the opinions of medical professionals and work on recovering, you can also help your case by taking note of how your TBI has affected you and your way of life. For example, you might write down how you’re experiencing communication difficulties, memory loss, sleep disturbances, or headaches.

Spinal injuries

Whiplash, herniated discs, soft-tissue injuries, or pinched nerves in the back are all common conditions after an accident. Immediately seeking medical treatment ensures these are documented in your medical records. Observe and record any side effects possibly connected to your condition, such as muscle weakness or spasms, headaches, pain, dizziness, and even nausea.

Torn rotator cuffs

It is human nature to stretch out your hands to break a fall. Sadly, this can easily result in torn rotator cuffs. Getting an X-ray or MRI soon after your accident could be an important piece of evidence later on, so seek medical attention as soon as you can for a diagnosis.

Some of these conditions may not cause any symptoms immediately after your accident. Other hidden injuries include internal organ damage. Hidden injuries, when left untreated, could turn into serious or fatal complications, such as internal bleeding.

In any case, take note of anything that could be an effect of your personal injury accident and bring it to your doctor’s and lawyer’s attention.

2. Establish Causation

Crafty insurance adjusters will look for any way to undermine your claim, to give you less than fair compensation. One of the first things they will examine is whether you immediately sought medical treatment. If you did not, they may try to say that your injuries are unrelated to your accident and instead are due to pre-existing conditions.

You cut off this line of attack, though, when you seek timely medical treatment. An experienced lawyer working for you could use this information, along with your prior medical record, to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident. This evidence could also help determine the extent of damages you are entitled to receive.

What about cases involving serious injuries that cause long-term disabilities? An experienced lawyer may call upon a medical expert witness. Expert witness testimony could speak to the extent of your injuries and the impact of the accident, thereby maximizing your compensation.

3. Prove the Seriousness of Your Injuries

The longer you delay in seeking medical treatment, the more difficult it is to prove the seriousness of your injuries. A defense attorney or insurance adjuster may argue that nothing would stop you from seeking medical attention if you were seriously hurt.

The opposing party could also argue that the pain you are experiencing is caused by a previous injury or prior condition. They may contend that you are seeking compensation to which you are not entitled. This could seriously undermine your efforts to achieve a fair settlement.

Admittedly, previous injuries and conditions could be a factor. Your accident may have exacerbated an existing issue and caused ongoing problems. In this situation, you may still be entitled to pursue compensation.

When you seek medical care in a timely manner, you can build up strong medical evidence. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to use this evidence to prove your case.

4. Meet Insurance Company Requirements

Seeking prompt medical treatment will also allow you to meet reporting requirements your insurer may have in place. You should report your medical care as quickly as possible since many insurers have a 90-day cut-off for submissions. If you leave it too long, you may lose the right to have your expenses covered.

5. Achieve Better Medical Outcomes

In many cases, delayed treatment can lead to negative outcomes and complications. For example, one research article found substantial evidence that early physiotherapy treatment results in more beneficial outcomes.

Following up with consistent medical treatment shows that you are committed to obtaining the best possible outcome for yourself. These efforts may prove your genuineness when seeking compensation. Hopefully, with the right treatment, you will be able to recover completely and enjoy life as you did before.

6. Mitigation of Damages

Mitigation of damages is a legal concept clarifying that the plaintiff (injured person) must demonstrate that he or she did everything he or she reasonably could to avoid harm. Simply put, an injured person cannot avoid treatment to secure a higher settlement, for instance.

The court and insurance adjuster will require evidence that you did everything you reasonably could to obtain the best possible medical outcome. This is why it is crucial not to delay medical treatment.

Even if you do not have health insurance or cannot afford medical treatment, make sure to seek prompt medical care. Your personal injury attorney can advise you on medical liens to pay for your treatment until your case has been decided.

7. Build a Strong Case

You must have a comprehensive medical record to build a strong personal injury claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can use this to build a strong case for compensation and play hardball at the negotiating table. If the case goes to court, he or she can use your medical evidence to present a compelling argument.

Strong medical evidence also helps to nullify the defense of the at-fault party, making it harder for them to argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident. Thus, you may be able to achieve better results with higher compensation.

Choose Harker Injury Law to Fight for Your Rights

Seeking immediate medical treatment after an accident is necessary for your health and personal injury claim. Give yourself the best chance of making a good recovery and pursuing a personal injury case that will result in fair compensation.

At Harker Injury Law, we believe in fighting with all we have for every client. If you work with us, you will work directly with an attorney, not a paralegal or assistant. We will focus on your case while you focus on your recovery.

Let Harker Injury Law fight for the best settlement on your behalf. To discover whether you have a personal injury case, schedule a free consultation today.

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