One of the most critical factors in an insurance company’s analysis of your personal injury claim is the content of your medical records and the time line of the care you receive. The individuals receiving care are parents, students, professionals with multiple jobs and a slew of people with health insurance coverage limitations that often have little flexibility in terms of their ability to diligently pursue medical treatment for their injuries.
As a working parent it can be virtually impossible to get the kids off in the morning, work a full day and somehow find time to visit your doctor’s office or your physical therapy appointment. Our schedules and life commitments result in gaps in our medical treatment following a personal injury accident and while we all understand that these gaps or delays in pursuing medical treatment for our injuries are understandable they are the black cloud that hangs over the value of our personal injury claim.
The two critical time frames to focus on are (a) between the date of the accident and the date you first receive medical care and (b) after you’ve received medical care immediately following the accident at the hospital and the next time you follow up with your doctor. See a doctor or visit the ER the day of your accident to get checked out and don’t delay in following up with your doctor after your first visit to the hospital.
We didn’t choose to get in a car accident or slip and fall but when we do suffer these injuries due to another parties negligence we are relying on the insurance carrier of the at fault party to compensate us for our pain and suffering and reimburse us for our medical bills. In the law this process of seeking compensation for our personal injuries is commonly referred to as “making us whole”.
Rarely are we going to receive a settlement that makes the entire experience worth it; however the picture we paint for the insurance carrier that results on our settlement is in large part impacted by how diligently we pursue our medical care. As one bad apple spoils the bunch, an individual injured in a car accident that waits a few months to undergo medical treatment will raise a red flag with the insurance company who will ask the question, “how do we know that this medical treatment isn’t related to a subsequent incident – if they were so hurt why didn’t they seek treatment right away?”
You have an obligation to take all steps necessary to ensure that your personal injury settlement comes as close as possible to making you whole. Medical care received for the first time weeks or months following the accident will not be viewed by the insurance company as related to your accident. Even individuals that wait a day or two to go the emergency room following the accident would be letting the at fault party’s insurance carrier off the hook.
As impossible as it seems, you must seek medical attention right away and you must show up for your appointments. The only thing more frustrating than being injured due to another’s negligence is allowing their insurance carrier to avoid paying you the settlement you deserve. There are many things in life that we can put off because of life’s other obligations and commitments and seeking timely and consistent medical care for injuries sustained in a personal injury accident are not one of them!