Mistake #2 Failing to Seek Medical Treatment
Over my many years representing Rhode Island accident victims against insurance companies, I always talk to every one of my clients about the importance of seeking medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you are only experiencing minor pain or symptoms, it is still important to get medical treatment as soon as you fnish collecting evidence at the scene.
Taking Care of Yourself Is the Most Important Way to Help Your Claim
If you already feel you have been injured and you recognize that the injury is serious, seek medical treatment right away—your life could depend on it. In the most serious cases, delayed medical treatment can make your medical condition worse, lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even mask traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that result in death. Simply put, the stakes are too high to forego medical treatment after an accident.
Documented Evidence of Medical Treatment Creates a Stronger Claim
Beyond the obvious importance of taking care of your physical health in the aftermath of an accident, getting medical treatment and documenting it is also essential for your auto or motorcycle accident case. Documentation is always a critically important component of a strong medical case, and this is especially true when you get treated post-accident.
If you wait to seek medical treatment, the insurance company will argue that you were not hurt. Therefore, you should seek medical treatment immediately if you are injured. When you seek medical treatment shortly after an accident, you are given a valuable opportunity to have your medical condition properly documented.
Insurance companies will scour any evidence they can find in the hours, days and weeks after an accident, hoping to find evidence that will undermine your claim. If the insurance company can show that you waited to get medical treatment even though you were injured or that you were generally unconcerned about the potential for injury, they will try to use these facts as justification for paying less than they should for an injury claim.
For this reason, make sure to tell your doctor everything that is hurting you and fully express how you are feeling after the accident.
Documented evidence showing you were in pain shortly after the accident and were not feeling good will support your claim for damages. As I said in the introduction, insurance companies are businesses and they will always try to limit the amount they pay for injury claims.
Failing to get treatment will bolster the insurance company’s claim that you were not injured or were not as injured as indicated in your legal claim. Te insurance company also might argue that a particular body part was not injured because you did not mention it in your initial doctor’s visit.
Understand that You Bear the Legal Burden of Proving an Injury
Our legal system requires accident victims to prove injuries and damages were caused by the negligence of another. This is an important concept to understand since it supports the idea that you need to always be thinking about the evidence in your case. Having solid evidence is one of the most important things you need to remember.
This is especially true where medical treatment is concerned. I often use the example of a gunshot wound when discussing the importance of treatment with clients. If someone is shot, they will go to the doctor immediately. Te same principle should hold true for auto accidents. When you are hurt, go to the doctor!
Don’t let insurance companies make the argument that your injury was not all that bad because you waited to see the doctor. Insurance companies can also try to argue that a previously undocumented leg injury—that you failed to tell the doctor about—worsened due to a lack of treatment if you wait a month until finally seeking treatment.
An early medical visit following an accident can make your case. Documented evidence will clearly lay out a case that you were hurt, you promptly saw the doctor, and had a medical professional record your injuries. This is the opposite of an accident victim who tries to be brave and “grin and bear” their injuries. It’s clear which of these two accident victims is more likely to be taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Visit a medical professional who is qualified to deal with your injuries after an accident, and you will be well on your way toward avoiding one of the most common accident claim errors.
Finding the Best Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a car accident lawyer in Rhode Island is an important decision. The best attorneys are able to evaluate your case quickly and provide advice so you can make an informed decision. No attorney should ever pretend to know the exact value of your case in advance, and you should never pay for an initial consultation. The law office of Louis W. Grande handles car cases on “contingency” contracts, meaning that you never pay unless we win your case.
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