Accident victims often experience shock after a car crash, making them less aware of any injuries they may have sustained. Yet even if there are no visible wounds or immediate pain, they could still be seriously hurt. Seeking immediate medical care helps give crash victims a chance to get the care they need more quickly. Time is critical after an accident, and waiting for hours or days may limit a victim's ability to fully recover. Below we explain how, in addition to risking your health, delaying treatment after a crash may also hurt your claim.
At Greg Coleman Law, we have been helping injured victims in Tennessee for decades. Our Knoxville-based automobile crash lawyers have a proven track record, and we are ready to help. Call our law offices 24/7 to schedule a free initial case review.
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Delaying Medical Care Risks Your Health
After being in a car accident, you may check to see if you have any visible injuries. That is a good place to start, but you will not be able to see if you have internal damages. There are serious life-threatening injuries that may not cause you any pain initially. Other injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), may not even show symptoms until hours or days later. For some injuries, a delay in treatment can lead to permanent damage or even death. Here are some examples where that could happen:
- Internal organ damage, such as a ruptured spleen or punctured lung
- Internal bleeding that may only be discovered and treated through diagnostic testing
- Serious head injuries, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage – immediate diagnosis and care is critical to help minimize the damage and avoid serious complications
Delaying or Skipping Medical Care Hurts Your Claim
Some crash victims refuse care at the scene and say they are not hurt. However, the officer at the scene would likely have to document that decision in the police report. Changing the story even a few days later after seeing a doctor makes any claim harder to prove. The insurance company would no doubt use the victim's words against him or her, making them a low settlement offer or outright denying the claim.
Other ways that skipping medical care can hurt your claim:
- Not seeking emergent care right after the crash: This step helps you to get a full diagnosis of your injuries. Since the details are documented in your medical record, it also helps your claim by linking them to the accident.
- Failing to follow your doctor’s care plan: Ignoring your doctor’s orders may damage your claim. For example, your doctor says to stay off your injured foot, take the prescribed medication and rest. Instead, you go out to a party and post a picture about it on social media. To the insurance company, it looks like you are exaggerating how badly you are hurt to get more money.
- Skipping follow-up appointments: Missing your medical appointments and other follow-up care makes it seem to the insurance company that you are not trying to get better. It can also slow your recovery or cause your injuries to get worse.
Why Do People Delay Care?
It is puzzling why so many people would risk not just their legal claim, but especially their health. With some injuries, even minutes or hours can be the difference in whether a victim recovers.
That said, when people take this risk, it is usually because:
- They are worried about the cost: Medical care is expensive, but risking your health is not a reasonable alternative to saving money. An attorney can help you find ways to handle the costs until your claim resolves.
- There are no symptoms, pain or visible damage: When injuries are internal, symptoms and pain may not appear until hours later.
- They want to avoid going to the emergency room: No one loves the disruption and discomfort of going to the ER or dealing with medical tests and examinations. But after a car crash, it gives you the best chance for optimum recovery.
Call Our Firm for Trusted Legal Assistance
Our law firm is ready to provide you with legal help after a car crash - from the first phone call. Contact our office anytime, night or day, to get started. Your first consultation is completely free, with no obligation to file a claim.
If we find that you have a case and you hire our firm, there is nothing to pay to get started. We also charge no fees while we work on your case. We fight for maximum compensation and only get paid if you do.
Why Wait to Get Legal Help? Call (865) 247-0080 today.