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Can I Still Recover Damages for My Injuries if I Did Not Go to the Hospital After My Car Accident?

Posted in Car Accidents on March 23, 2022

Car accidents are disruptive to the entire day of anyone involved. Whether someone is going to work for an important meeting, heading to school to finish up a final exam, or are on their way to pick up a parent in need of medical care, they have commitments they must meet. These commitments seem to be the most important thing to deal with and it is common for someone who is in a minor traffic accident to avoid medical care and get on with their day.

While many car accident victims may be thinking about going about their day, recovering damages could be more challenging if they do not go to the hospital immediately following a car accident. Additionally, this decision could seriously impact their overall health.

Medical Care Matters Following a Car Accident

Although most of us have heard time and time again about what we should do after a car accident, many of us skip seeking medical care at a hospital. There are various reasons for this including:

  • Anxiety about getting back to their responsibilities
  • A belief they have not suffered any serious injury
  • They are embarrassed about being involved in a car accident
  • A victim may prefer to see their own physician

The bottom line is that everyone has their reasons for not going to the hospital, but the fact is that there are health reasons as well as legal reasons why car accident victims should take that step.

Filing an Accident Claim Without Medical Proof of Injury

Before filing an accident injury claim, the victim must show proof of all four elements of a negligent driver claim. One way to do this is to show that they have suffered an injury as the result of a negligent driver who caused a car accident. To prove the necessary elements, the insurance company will want to examine the following:

  • Police accident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records from the victim
  • Proof of financial damages including medical claims

If a victim has not sought care from a hospital in the immediate aftermath of a car accident, their initial problem is they could have difficulty proving their injury was a result of an accident and not a preexisting condition, or something which occurred after the accident.

Physical Dangers of Not Seeking Medical Attention Following an Accident

Accidents cause our bodies to react to immediate danger. This reaction, known as a fight or flight response can mask symptoms of pain. For a car accident victim, this means they may be unaware of an injury. When a victim of a car accident suffers an internal injury, a soft tissue injury, or bruising, they may not show any signs of these injuries immediately.

Unfortunately, in the days, and sometimes weeks, following a car accident, a victim may start to display signs that something is wrong. Excruciating headaches, discomfort in the abdomen, severe pain in the back or neck could indicate a victim is suffering from the trauma they suffered because of a car accident.

Legal Challenges When Victims Fail to Seek Medical Care

Unfortunately, when someone has failed to seek medical care immediately following an accident, insurance companies will use this knowledge to minimize the claim which is filed on behalf of the victim.

One of the first disputes may arise when a victim files their initial claim for compensation for the medical bills associated with their medical treatment. The insurance company may ask for additional verification which proves without a doubt that the injury was because they were involved in a wreck. This may be impossible to prove in the event someone did not seek medical attention.

Some of the common disputes which an insurance adjuster may raise include:

  • Failure to seek medical care means injuries were not part of the car accident
  • The injury is not as serious as the victim claims or they would have sought treatment earlier
  • The victim is attempting to collect for injuries which do not exist

These are a few of the reasons why so many car accident lawyers recommend that, regardless of how a person feels following an accident, that they should be thoroughly examined by a doctor.

Immediate Treatment, Delayed Treatment or No Treatment

When a victim of a car accident files a claim to recover financially from the losses their injuries have caused, there must be medical documentation of the injury.

Immediate treatment is always preferable to no treatment, but delayed treatment may still allow a victim to collect for their damages. It is important to note, however, that waiting could mean a reduced amount which can be claimed in damages, including medical bills, and lost wages.

Some car accident victims opt to meet with their own physician rather than seek care at a local urgent care facility or hospital. The sooner this is accomplished, the better both from a health standpoint and from a legal standpoint. Anyone seeking medical care from their own physician should make it clear they were involved in a car accident.

Seeking Care To Avoid Handing Insurance Companies a Victory

When someone has been in a car accident, the last thing they need to do is worry that they cannot receive fair compensation for the injuries and losses they suffered because of a negligent driver. The best way to ensure that a victim can collect the full amount of compensation necessary to be financially whole is to seek immediate medical attention.

Failing to seek medical attention following an accident may allow insurance companies to escape some of the liability they might otherwise face if their client has failed in their duty of care to other drivers on the roadway. Holding insurers accountable is challenging enough without handing them a victory because an injured party has failed to seek medical attention. Victims should never take risks with their physical health because it is impossible to determine the extent of an injury without a full medical evaluation. All car accident victims have certain rights and a car accident attorney can help protect those rights and advocate on their behalf.