You’ve had a car accident and you’re shaken up, but you’re not sure whether you’re hurt. You go through the motions of exchanging identification and insurance information with the other driver, but wonder whether you should go to the hospital. After all, your new health insurance has a high deductible, so a big chunk of the ER care will have to come out of your pocket. Maybe you think you should wait to see how you feel in the morning, or in a couple of days. But think again: you may be jeopardizing your health and your injury claim.
At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we often represent clients who did not seek immediate medical attention. Those clients often have to settle for less than they could have gotten if they’d gone to a medical care provider right away. Here’s what you need to know before you put off getting medical care for a personal injury:
- Adrenaline masks injury — This is one of our body’s defenses, which gets us through a crisis. You could easily be injured seriously and not realize it until hours later.
- You could wind up in much worse shape — Treatable head and spine injuries can be catastrophic if not given quick attention.
- You weaken your proof of causation — If you don’t go for treatment until the next day or the day after that, the defense will claim there was an intervening cause for your injuries. Can you prove you didn’t slip in the shower?
- You weaken your proof you were harmed — It’s quite natural for an insurance company to look at the damages you’re claiming and ask, “If you were hurt that badly, why didn’t you go to the hospital?” You don’t want a judge or jury to be wondering the same thing. If you are claiming the kind of painful injury, such as connective tissue damage, that can’t be proven easily with diagnostic tests, your case could be in serious jeopardy.
The best thing you can do for your present health and future claim is to go to the emergency room and get checked out fully.
What you should do to strengthen your injury case
After you’ve gotten the initial medical attention you need, there are other things you should do to strengthen your case:
- Keep a record of your treatment — List all your doctor visits, procedures, medications and therapy sessions. Make notes about your personal struggles with your injuries.
- Keep receipts for every expense related to your injury — It’s very easy to lose track of payments you’ve made, but every dollar you don’t account for could cost you much more in terms of your recovery. Your medical expenses are not only a basis for your economic damages; they can also be a major factor in calculating your recovery for pain and suffering.
When you’re hurt, it can be difficult to manage what seem to be small details. However, attention to detail, starting with immediate medical treatment, will pay dividends when it’s time to settle your case.
If you have questions about your personal injury case, contact a law firm with more than 200 years of combined experience. Call (855) 435-7247 or contact Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban online to schedule a free consultation.