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Injuries from an accident can range from minor to major, but receiving medical attention is extremely important for both. Even minor injuries can turn serious if the proper medical treatment isn’t given, as complications such as infection can occur. If you were in an accident and sought medical treatment for your injuries, it is important to note that how well you followed through with the medical treatment will be considered.

Gaps in medical treatment can look bad in a court of law and gives the defense a chance to either reduce the amount of money they owe you for medical expenses or get them dismissed altogether. It is important to be able to explain why there may be gaps in your medical treatment. Ensuring you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side is paramount to your claim being fully heard and not misconstrued by the defense. Here is more information about how gaps in medical treatment can hurt your personal injury claim:

Understanding How Medical Expenses Are Accounted for In a Personal Injury Claim

If an individual involved in an accident is injured, an EMT or an ER doctor may recommend certain care to ensure that the injuries are treated properly. This recommendation for treatment will be documented, and it is up to the individual to ensure that they follow through with those recommendations. It is important to note that at this step, the insurance companies will be monitoring closely to ensure the necessary treatment is given and observe how well the injured party followed the treatment plan. Failure to follow through or gaps in the treatment may result in the insurance company lowering the damages that are owed.

Your personal injury attorney will be working hard to ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve for medical expenses and damages. Part of this is proving that those medical expenses were necessary to take care of your injuries. The treatment that the injured party receives has to be “reasonable” for the injuries that were suffered, and anything that went above and beyond that “reasonable” care cannot be claimed in your damages.

It is up to the individual to ensure that they follow the treatment plan that was set in place to care for their injuries. This includes going to all appointments, physical therapy sessions, and any prescribed follow-up care.

How Do Gaps in Medical Treatment Look in a Personal Injury Claim?

When an individual has evidence that there were gaps in their medical treatment for their injuries after an accident, it can leave room for the defense to make two claims about your damages. These claims can negatively impact the amount of compensation you receive, resulting in you getting less than you deserve. These claims are as follows:

The Treatment You Received Was “Unnecessary”

If the injured party has evidence that they missed appointments and didn’t receive all of the care that was prescribed, the defense may claim that they didn’t need the care to begin with. It is important to ensure that, as the injured party, one does not reject “necessary treatment,” even if only putting it off for a few days, as it can make both the defendant and the insurance company claim that those treatments were optional. Even if the injured party goes back for treatment later, both the defendant and the insurance company can claim that the gap shows that they truly didn’t need that treatment.

The Injured Party Failed to Mitigate Their Damages

It is the responsibility of the injured party to get all of the required care that is prescribed by medical professionals to treat injuries that resulted from that accident. By following these recommendations closely, they mitigate the damages. If treatment is not followed closely and the injuries worsen, resulting in more treatment, the defendant will not be held responsible for the reduced function, increased medical expenses, or pain and suffering because the plaintiff chose not to follow directions. This can mean that the amount of damages they claim can be reduced.

Does a Delay in Treatment Affect a Personal Injury Claim?

Yes. Just as having gaps in your treatment can give room for the defense and the insurance company to claim that the treatment wasn’t necessary or resulted in the failure to mitigate damages, so can delay in treatment. It is important to seek treatment for any injuries resulting from your accident immediately. Even if you feel fine after an accident, it is important to get checked over by a healthcare professional. Some injuries may not be readily apparent, as adrenaline can mask the pain. 

Waiting days or weeks to seek out treatment for your injuries can make them seem as if the treatment that was ultimately received was unnecessary or that the victim caused their injuries to get worse because they failed to get treatment. A delay in treatment can result in your injuries being seen as the following:

The Injuries Were Not As Serious As Claimed

Failure to seek medical treatment right away for your injuries can make them seem as if they were not as severe as they may have been. This is because the insurance company or the defendant claims that you were able to get by despite your injuries. In some cases, they may claim that you are faking your injuries, which can severely impact your eligibility for compensation. 

The Injuries Were Not Caused By the Accident

Getting seen by a medical professional on the day of your accident documents the injuries that were caused by the accident. If you fail to get seen by a healthcare professional within the same day, or even the next day, after an accident, it could be claimed that your injuries were caused by another event, not the accident. Anything could have happened in the meantime, and the defense will hit this angle hard.

For your claim to be heard, it is important to have proof that the injuries you have were caused by the accident and not something that happened after. If you are unable to do this, then you may not be able to get the compensation you deserve. 

Is There Any Time That a Gap in Medical Treatment Would Be Accepted?

In rare cases, circumstances outside of the injured party’s control may cause a gap in their treatment. This gap could be explained by a doctor being unable to meet for an appointment due to an emergency on their end or scheduling conflicts for the particular doctor’s office due to the amount of patients. In these cases, your experienced personal injury attorney should be able to gather evidence showing that the medical treatment gap had nothing to do with the victim’s unwillingness for treatment but instead was something outside of their control altogether.

Injured in an Accident? Call Our Team Today

The personal injury attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. is dedicated to serving the individuals of DFW, Abilene, and Amarillo by helping them get the compensation they deserve for medical expenses and damages after an accident. We work around the clock to gather the evidence that is needed to show the correlation between the accident and your injuries. We do not let the defense or the insurance company bully our clients into taking less than they deserve. Contact our team today for more information on our services or to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys to go over your case!