After you've been in an auto accident, it's very important that you go to a doctor right away.
As a Fort Worth car accident lawyer, I know from personal experience how tempting it is to delay treatment. You think you're fine. You don't want to rack up more bills. Maybe you want to see who's deemed "at-fault" for the wreck before taking any next steps. Though your intentions are fine, delaying a doctor's visit can do you serious harm.
Delaying Medical Treatment Hurts Your Insurance Claim
It's very common for injuries after an auto accident to take several days to rise to the level of you deciding htat you need to seek medical attention. Whiplash, for instance, is notorious for getting stronger and stronger as the days pass.
Insurance companies don't like to see ANY gap in time between your wreck and your medical treatment. If you wait too long, the insurance adjuster will often argue, "Well, you must not have been that hurt because you didn't go right to the doctor, and therefore we're going to deny your injury claim." This is very, very common and insurers often get away with it.
Of course, this isn't fair or accurate. Sometimes, accident victims don't know how badly their hurt. They don't know they tore a shoulder muscle and need surgery, or hurt their backs and need physical therapy. They think they're just "sore" from the collision, or they think the pain will go away on its own, and so on.
The point is that you never really know how badly you're hurt. So to protect yourself and your auto accident claim, you should go to the doctor right as soon as you experience any pain. This will ensure that you have professional, written documentation of your injuries and your attempt to pursue treatment.
Delaying Medical Treatment Is Bad for Your Health
Aside from your injury claim, you have your health to think about. As I mentioned before, injuries after auto accidents aren't always apparent. Sometimes it takes days for you to realize you're hurt. Sometimes you think your injury is one thing, but it turns out to be something else entirely.
The safest bet is to see a doctor quickly. Even if you were in a low-speed collision and both cars look fine, it doesn't matter. I've handled cases where my client's car looked completely fine but they had a serious concussion. I've also handled cases where my client was in shock and couldn't even tell they had broken bones. The bottom line is that even if you feel okay, make an appointment with your doctor just to be sure.
When in pain, go to the doctor. They are the professionals and know how to treat injuries. If you go to the doctor, you greatly increase the chance that you will have a successful recovery. By failing to go to the doctor, you are putting your recovery in jeopardy.
As an aside, some primary doctors will just not treat accident victims. It is crazy, but they just do not do it. In those cases, an injury lawyer can suggest to you doctors that are not afraid of treating accident victims. At my firm, we make those suggestions all the time and are glad to be able to do that for our clients.
Delaying Medical Treatment Won't Save You Money
One of the main reasons I see people delay medical treatment is because they're worried about the cost. Often, auto wreck victims want to wait to see if the other driver's insurance will accept fault for the accident (meaning the other driver hit you, and not the other way around). They're hoping the other person's insurance will cover their medical bills.
This isn't really the right approach. If you're hurt, get treated. Even if the other driver IS at-fault (and therefore their insurance is responsible for your medical bills), you still need to get treatment using your own health insurance for the time being.
Once you've fully recovered and you're finished treating, you'll send your medical bills to the at-fault driver's insurance company and request reimbursement. That's how the claims process works - they aren't going to pay you up front anyway, so there's no reason to delay seeking help.
If You Think Your Claim Will Be Denied
This is the big question, isn't it? Can you prove the other driver was at-fault? What if they hit you but deny it? What if their insurance company refuses to pay your medical bills? Will you be left to pay them on your own?
If you've been seriously injured in an accident and you're worried about building your case, it's time to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will know how to gather evidence, build your case and argue with the insurance company in a way that's going to win you everything you deserve to cover your medical bills, missed work days, pain and suffering.
If you were hurt in an accident that wasn't your fault, you shouldn't have to pay a dime for it.
The Anderson Law Firm handles car accident cases in the Fort Worth area. We are glad to answer any questions you have regarding medical treatment. If you don’t have health insurance, we are happy to provide you options. Our Fort Worth personal injury attorneys can recommend doctors who will treat your injuries and hold their bill until the claim is concluded. That way there will be no out-of-pocket costs for you.
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