Will a Gap in Medical Treatment Affect My Personal Injury Claim in Texas?
If you were injured in an accident, it is important to follow through with all medical recommendations. In many cases, when you seek treatment and how you follow through with your treatment are going to be heavily scrutinized when it comes to how much your case is worth.
Gaps in medical treatment can often be used by the defendant to either reduce how much they pay you in damages or to potentially dismiss your claim entirely. If you do not follow through with recommended medical care, the court or insurance company might find that you do not need damages for that medical care if you still turned out alright. Additionally, evidence that you delayed your medical treatment can be used to undermine the claim that the injuries were actually caused by the accident in question.
For help with your personal injury case, call The Queenan Law Firm as soon as you can after an injury. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797, and our Arlington personal injury attorneys offer free case reviews.
How Gaps in Recommended Treatment Can Hurt Your Injury Claim in Texas
When you are injured after an accident and the EMTs or ER doctors recommend certain care to deal with the effects of the accident, it is important that you follow through with all recommendations. This is one specific area that insurance companies watch closely because evidence that you had gaps in treatment or failed to follow treatment plans can be used to lower your damages.
To get you compensation for your medical expenses after an accident or injury, your Houston personal injury lawyers will have to prove that those expenses were necessary because of the accident. Moreover, damages cannot usually be claimed for treatments that go above and beyond what is “reasonable” for the injuries you suffered.
If the doctors who treated you set you up with a treatment plan, appointments to meet, and physical therapy or other follow-up care, it will likely be seen as reasonable and necessary. This allows you to get compensation for those medical expenses. However, gaps in treatment can allow defendants to make two major claims to hurt your damages:
First, if you missed appointments and didn’t receive certain care, and you were ultimately okay, the defense will argue that you probably didn’t need that care after all. Essentially, if you had a gap in care and chose to reject the “necessary” treatment, even for a short time, the insurance companies will say those treatments were, in fact, optional. Even if you change your mind and go back for care later, the insurance company will use that gap against you.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
Second, a gap in care might mean that you ultimately do not get all the care that you really needed to get better. This could mean that you ultimately recover to a lower degree than you would have if you had followed the treatment plan to the letter.
Legally speaking, it is your responsibility as the victim to get all of the required care you need to try to get back to 100% – to try “mitigate” the damages you faced. If you end up below 100% or your injuries actually get worse because you allowed your treatment to lapse, the defendant is not responsible for that reduced function or increased pain and suffering. This will mean reduced damages at the end of the day. Often, injury victims can work with our Dallas personal attorneys to make sure they are doing everything they can to keep up with their treatment to avoid issues like this in an injury claim.
How Delayed Treatment Can Hurt Your Injury Case in Texas
Just as gaps in treatment can show the court or the insurance company that the treatment wasn’t necessary or that you failed to mitigate damages, delaying your treatment can show the same thing. If you wait until days or weeks after the injury to get treatment, the insurance companies will claim that your treatment was not actually necessary or that your injuries got worse because of your failure to seek treatment. However, a delay in treatment can have an even worse impact on your case.
Our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers generally recommend getting treatment for an injury immediately after it happens. Whether you were hurt at work, in a car accident, or by a defective product, it is better to go to the hospital and get the injury looked at right away than to wait and potentially have your injuries get worse.
Lack of “Seriousness”
For one, going to the doctor right away shows that your injury was indeed serious. If you wait days before seeking damages, it will be harder to claim down the road that your injuries were actually severe. This would hurt any claims from your Texas personal injury lawyer that your injuries were severe.
If the insurance company sees that you were okay for a couple of days, they might even try to say that you are faking your injury now.
Inability to Link Injuries to the Accident
Second, going to the doctor creates a record of treatment on the same day as the injury. If you claim to have been involved in an accident, and you claim that the defendant caused that accident, but then you seek treatment days or weeks later, it will be harder to prove that treatment was actually related to the accident. Dozens of things can happen in the meantime, and the defense will try to claim that your injury happened in some other event in the meantime.
That last point is probably the most important: if you don’t have proof that your injuries were actually caused by this accident, you can’t get damages paid at all. It will be much harder for your Irving personal injury lawyer to connect your injuries to this accident without evidence of prompt medical care.
Call Our Texas Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If you were hurt in an accident, call our Odessa personal injury lawyers for a free case review and for help arranging your medical care and compiling evidence of your damages. For your free case review, call The Queenan Law Firm at (817) 476-1797.