Delays in Medical Treatment Can Harm Your Injury Case in Virginia

Stephen M. Smith
Last Updated:
November 27, 2019

People who suffer injuries in car, truck or motorcycle accidents, at their workplace, or at a business often delay seeking medical treatment. They have busy lives or believe their injuries are not serious enough to warrant medical help. Procrastinating over medical treatment is a serious mistake. Delays in medical treatment can harm your injury case in Virginia.

Filing an insurance claim after an accident is tough enough without giving the insurance company more reasons to deny your claim or give you less than you are entitled to.

As soon as you file an insurance claim for your injuries, the adjuster will look for ways to reduce the money you are entitled to or to deny your claim altogether. If you decline help at an accident scene, say you feel fine, and delay seeing a doctor for weeks, the insurance company will claim your injuries are not serious.

When motorists are hurt in car, truck, motorcycle or bike crashes, they don’t always feel pain in the hours after the incident.

During a car crash, the human body generates adrenaline and endorphins. These chemicals can block pain. You may feel fine after a wreck but that doesn’t mean you are fine. For that reason, you should not make statements to the investigating officer or another motorist that you have no symptoms.

The pain often kicks in once the levels of adrenaline and endorphins subside.

Many factors are beyond our control after a car wreck. Drivers should give a factual account of the accident to a police officer and avoid spin and opinion. However, what the officer writes in his report is beyond your control.

However, you can control your medical treatment. Even if you lack health insurance and feel you cannot afford consultations and x-rays, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible after an accident with injuries. If the accident was a minor fender bender you might not need to see a medical professional. If you feel any pain or discomfort, get it checked out.

If you wait weeks or months to receive treatment, the insurance company is likely to claim your injuries were not caused by the accident. By delaying, you will make it more difficult to establish the link between your injuries and the accident itself.

If another person caused your injuries, it’s vital to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

It’s not enough to make one visit and discontinue treatment. Schedule follow-ups and document everything. Keep all of your medical records. People who suffer neck injuries like whiplash may suffer complications like herniated discs. Neck injuries are common after rear-end crashes. While many of these injuries clear up in weeks, the neck is a complicated and sensitive area. Injured people may require surgery.

Make sure to document the cause and effect between the car crash and the surgery and don’t discontinue treatment.

As well as citing the failure to seek medical care in a timely manner, the insurance company will look for “gaps” in your treatment. These are periods of time in which no treatment takes place.

Insurance companies use gaps to claim you made a recovery or your condition was not serious enough to continue with your treatment program. The adjusters may say another intervening injury resulted in subsequent medical treatment and put a “cut off” date on the claim.

Delays in Medical Treatment Following a Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injuries are different from other injuries. If you see your family doctor because you are suffering from headaches after a car accident, you may be suffering from a brain injury.

However, there are many other causes of persistent headaches like neck injuries.

Your family doctor may fail to diagnose a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even CT scans and MRIs can miss mild traumatic brain injuries.

If you start to feel symptoms after a car accident that you did not experience before like a loss of concentration, a problem comprehending what’s going on, sleeplessness, and anxiety, ask to see a specialist to be tested for a TBI.

You should not ignore the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. If you suffered a brain injury due to the fault of another driver, you can make a claim for your long-term care needs. Insurance companies habitually fight brain injury claims because a TBI can be permanent and payouts are often higher. It’s also easier to explain away TBI symptoms on other causes.

Seek medical advice if you believe you have a TBI and get a second opinion. Talk to your family members about mood and behavior changes that are typical of a brain injury.

Talk to a Virginia Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident

At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys have helped car accident victims and other injured people for decades. We helped pioneer TBI litigation in Virginia and elsewhere. Our lawyers can advise you on a course of treatment and how to claim for past, present, and future medical bills.

It’s important to talk to both a doctor and an attorney soon after a car accident if you believe another person caused your injuries. Delays in medical treatment can harm your injury case in Virginia.  The clock is ticking after an accident. Don’t lose your chance to make a claim. Call our experienced injury team at (757) 244-7000.

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