Let’s say that you’re involved in a traffic crash or some other type of accident. You’re shaken up, but you don’t “feel” like you’ve been injured, so you don’t go to the ER or consult an Atlanta personal injury attorney. A week or ten days later, a serious medical condition develops.
Will you still be able to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages? That is your right under the law. Or will your failure to seek immediate medical attention after the accident disqualify you from receiving compensation?
It’s a complicated question. If you’ll keep reading, you will learn how the personal injury process works – or doesn’t work – if you failed to seek medical attention immediately after an accident, but you’ve suffered a latent injury and you need compensation.
Why Do People Decline Medical Treatment After Accidents?
You may be reluctant to seek the treatment and care you need after an accident. However, not seeking medical attention may entail some genuinely negative consequences in the days and weeks after that accident.
There are many reasons why people don’t seek medical attention after an accident. Some people simply hate to admit that they’re injured – they think it makes them look “weak.” Some people don’t like doctors, so they’ll try to treat themselves with first aid and over-the-counter medicines.
Other people experience delayed injury symptoms. Adrenaline is released by stressful incidents like car crashes, dog bites, and blows to the head. Adrenaline masks pain. Some people may not realize they’ve been injured until the adrenaline subsides – hours or even days later.
What Can Happen if You Decline Medical Treatment?
If you’re injured because someone was negligent, in a traffic accident or any other accident scenario, the negligent party’s insurance company will not compensate you for your injury or injuries without proof that you’ve been injured.
If you did not visit a hospital or see a doctor after the accident, you will have no documentation of your injury or injuries. And the longer you wait to have a medical exam, the more difficult it will be to link your personal injury or injuries to a specific accident.
What if You Wait and Seek Treatment Later?
If you wait and only seek medical treatment later, you might also be unable to collect the compensation that you are entitled to under Georgia state law. Waiting too long may cause the negligent party’s insurance company to insist that you must not be injured very seriously.
An insurance company might also claim that your injury was pre-existing and that you were not injured by their policyholder’s negligence but were instead injured earlier and in some other way.
Let’s say that you’re injured in a car wreck, but you waited a week before you made a doctor’s appointment. The insurance company may claim that your injury may not have happened in that accident since a full week passed between the injury and the time you made the appointment.
Every Georgia personal injury lawyer recommends seeking medical attention at once if you sustain an injury because another person was negligent. If you wait, the negligent party’s insurance company may reduce the amount of your compensation or reject your claim entirely.
What Does It Take to be Compensated for an Injury?
When you file a personal injury claim in Georgia, to receive compensation, you (the “plaintiff”) and your personal injury lawyer must prove that the “defendant” (the negligent party) was negligent in a way that directly caused your personal injury or injuries.
And that’s only the first step. You and your attorney must also prove that by acting negligently, the defendant is liable under Georgia law for your medical expenses, your lost wages if you were unable to work, and your personal pain, suffering, and emotional anguish.
Without medical documentation, you cannot prove that you’ve been injured, your injury claim will be rejected by the insurance company, and an Atlanta personal injury lawyer may even decline to accept your case – because your injury claim cannot prevail.
After an Accident, Have a Medical Exam Promptly
Have a medical exam immediately after any accident. This will ensure that you haven’t sustained a hidden or latent injury that may develop into a serious medical problem, and if you have sustained such an injury, you’ll be able to have treatment before the condition develops further.
Seeing a doctor promptly will also help your attorney – and will make it possible for you to receive the compensation that you are entitled to – by providing the medical records and documentation that you will need to prevail with a personal injury claim.
Make copies and store all of your medical records, bills, and receipts securely. Adhere to your doctor’s recommendations regarding prescription medications, follow-up appointments, treatment, and any referral to a specialist.
If you do not adhere to your doctor’s recommendations, the negligent party’s insurance company – you guessed it – may claim that you’re not really seriously injured after all.
How Will the Right Accident Lawyer Help You?
After you’ve been injured, you’ll want to concentrate on getting your health back and returning to your normal routines. Let an Atlanta accident attorney handle the negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
Most personal injury lawyers in this state are trained and experienced negotiators. Don’t try to act as your own negotiator or as your own attorney. The law is too complicated, and an insurance company can use anything you say – or any mistake you make – against you.
If no acceptable settlement offer is made by the insurance company during those negotiations, your personal injury lawyer can take your claim to court, explain to a jury how you were injured and the extent of your injuries, and ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.
What Will It Cost You to Seek Justice?
Your first consultation with an Atlanta personal injury attorney is provided with no cost or obligation. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about your rights and to get the personalized legal advice you need.
If you and your attorney choose to proceed with an injury claim, you pay no attorney’s fee until – and unless – your attorney obtains a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict on your behalf.
The injured victims of negligence are protected under Georgia state law and are entitled to compensation – and to justice. If you have been injured by negligence in this state, and you bring a personal injury claim with an attorney’s help, the law will be on your side.
Bryce is considered a highly esteemed trial lawyer and a passionate client advocate amongst his peers in the Atlanta legal community. Never afraid to go the extra mile for his clients, Bryce Angell works tirelessly to ensure that each client’s personal injury case gets the attention that it deserves.