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Why Is It Important To Seek Medical Treatment After An Accident?

Posted by Jimmy Sunosky | Jan 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

Protect your health and legal claim after an accident

If you're injured in an accident, it's a mistake to avoid or delay medical treatment hoping the pain and injury will resolve on its own.  It's critically important to immediately seek medical treatment, particularly if you plan on pursuing a personal injury case.  You're not only risking your health but also the value of your legal claim.

If you're worried about the cost of seeing a doctor, contact Hernandez Sunosky, LLP and our Houston Personal Injury Attorneys will find you a doctor who will agree to see you for no up-front out-of-pocket costs.

Protecting Your Health

Even though you don't feel any symptoms immediately after an accident, that doesn't always mean you were uninjured.  Right after an accident, the human body starts producing chemicals, endorphins and adrenaline to help cope with any injuries.  This is the body's common response to trauma and often masks underlying injuries.  As time passes, injuries may show up and begin causing pain and potentially other medical emergencies.  Concussions and internal injuries left undiagnosed can potentially lead to other serious and dangerous complications.  

By seeking medical treatment immediately, you can potentially avoid:

  • Longer recovery time
  • Worsening of the injury
  • Increased chance of re-injury
  • Delay in finding referrals to specialists to help the healing process
  • More serious and potentially dangerous medical complications

Following an accident, don't avoid or delay medical treatment.  Even if you're experiencing little or no pain, you may have suffered a more serious injury.  Go to an emergency room or urgent care immediately and report all your symptoms, no matter how minor.  A healthcare professional will evaluate the extent of your injuries.

Follow-up Medical Care

Once you've been evaluated by a doctor and your injuries have been identified, it is critically important to follow the prescribed treatment plan.  Your treating doctor wants you to recover from your injuries.  As such, you should fill any prescriptions, participate in physical therapy sessions and take the necessary time off from work or school as directed.  You may start to feel better after some initial treatment, but it is imperative to follow all your doctor's orders and treatment recommendations until you've been released.  This will ensure your best chance for a full recovery.

Protecting the Value of Your Legal Claim

Should you decide to seek compensation for your injuries following an accident, avoiding or delaying initial medical treatment, and failing to continue with the prescribed treatment plan, can substantially impact the value of your legal claim.

At Hernandez Sunosky, LLP, our attorneys have handled thousands of personal injury claims and recovered millions of dollars for injured victims.  A common defense tactic used by the insurance companies is to argue the victim was not injured to the extent they claimed to be.  Many people are unaware but medical records are actually evidence in a personal injury claim.  

Medical records establish:

  • A contemporaneous record
  • Nature and scope of your injury
  • Duration of your medical treatment
  • A connection between your injuries and the accident
  • Your future medical treatment needs as a result of the accident
  • Documentation of your pain and suffering
  • Amount of your medical bills

As such, the primary ammunition used by insurance companies against the injured victim was their own medical records.  Arguments such as lack of injury complaints, delay in treatment, and time gaps in treatment are often used to justify underpaying a personal injury claim.  Since medical records can be used against you, it's important to seek, receive and continue to receive medical treatment following an accident.  

To protect the value of your legal claim, do the following:

  • Seek Immediate medical treatment

In addition to protecting your health by identifying any potential delayed injuries early, seeking immediate medical treatment after an accident establishes a clear record of your injury and the necessary treatment plan.  It will make your personal injury claim much stronger. 

  • Report the mechanism or nature of your accident

It's important to report to the healthcare provider that you were involved in an accident.  For example, if it was a slip and fall accident, provide specifics, such as “I stepped in a pothole at the grocery store parking lot today.”  Your healthcare provider will need to understand the nature and mechanism of your injury and document it in the medical records accordingly.  The medical records will be an important piece of evidence should you decide to seek compensation for your injuries.

  • Report all your injury complaints

When reporting your injuries, be specific and comprehensive.  Don't minimize your pain complaints or location of injury.  This isn't the time to be tough and believe the pain will resolve on its own.  If you feel any symptoms, no matter now minor, report it to your doctor.  Remember, your objective is to receive the necessary medical treatment to get better.  Also, since your medical records will be used against you in a personal injury claim, you want a contemporaneous record of your injury complaints.

  • Complete the prescribed treatment plan

Failing to follow the treatment plan as prescribed can adversely affect your personal injury claim.  For example, if your doctor prescribed physical therapy 3 times a week for 4 weeks and you fail to follow the treatment plan by not showing up to appointments or stopping the treatment plan two weeks early, the insurance company will argue you aren't as hurt as you claim to be.  Also, they will argue you failed to lessen your damages by not following your doctor's recommendations.

Avoid any time gaps in your treatment.  If your doctor recommends a treatment plan, follow it exactly.  Any delays or time gaps in medical treatment can give an insurance company the opportunity to argue the injury was related to something other than your accident.

Hernandez Sunosky, LLP fights for injury victims!

If you've been injured in an accident, contact Hernandez Sunosky, LLP for a free, no obligation consultation with our Houston Personal Injury Lawyers.  We will evaluate your claim and help you understand which legal options may be available to help you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve.

We work only on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront fees for our services. You only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your case.

About the Author

Jimmy Sunosky

Jimmy Sunosky is an AV Preeminent rated lawyer and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters, a Top Lawyer by Houstonia Magazine and a Top Lawyer H by Texas Magazine. He is dedicated to helping accident victims and their families find justice and obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries or death. Before co-founding Hernandez Sunosky, LLP, he worked as an insurance defense lawyer. He applies the knowledge and experience gained while working with insurance companies to his work as an advocate for the injured.

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