When you find yourself in the aftermath of a traffic crash or any other type of accident, the whirlwind of emotions and confusion can often cloud your judgment. In some cases, you may not immediately “feel” injured, leading you to forgo a visit to the emergency room or a consultation with an Atlanta personal injury attorney. However, what happens if a serious medical condition surfaces a week or ten days later?
Can you still file a personal injury claim and receive compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages? The answer, according to the law, is yes. But does delaying medical attention after an accident disqualify you from receiving compensation?
The nuances of this question can be complex. In the following discussion, we will shed light on how the personal injury claim process operates when immediate medical attention is not sought after an accident. Still, a latent injury arises, necessitating compensation.
Reasons for Declining Immediate Medical Treatment
People often hesitate to seek the necessary medical treatment following an accident. There are various reasons for this reluctance:
- Denial of Injury: Some individuals hesitate to acknowledge their injuries as they may feel vulnerable or “weak.”
- Aversion to Medical Professionals: Others may have a general discomfort with medical practitioners and resort to self-treatment using first aid kits and over-the-counter medications.
- Delayed Onset of Symptoms: The release of adrenaline during stressful incidents, such as car crashes or blows to the head, can mask pain. Consequently, some individuals might not realize they have sustained injuries until hours or even days later when the effects of adrenaline subside.
Potential Consequences of Delaying Medical Treatment
If your injuries result from someone else’s negligence, such as in a traffic accident, the negligent party’s insurance company will require evidence of your injuries before compensating you.
Not seeking immediate medical attention means lacking documentation of your injuries. Furthermore, the longer you wait for a medical examination, the more challenging it becomes to link your personal injury to a specific accident.
If you postpone seeking treatment and only do so later, you may face challenges in collecting the compensation you are entitled to under Georgia state law. The insurance company may argue that your injuries aren’t severe because of the delay. They may also allege that your injury was pre-existing, unrelated to their policyholder’s negligence.
For instance, if you’re injured in a car accident but wait a week before seeing a doctor, the insurance company may claim that your injury may not have resulted from the accident due to the time-lapse.
Proving Your Case for Compensation
In Georgia, to secure compensation through a personal injury claim, you and your personal injury lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant (the negligent party) acted negligently, directly causing your injuries.
However, this is just the first step. You must also prove that the defendant’s negligence makes them liable under Georgia law for your medical expenses, lost wages if you were unable to work, and your pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Without proper medical documentation, proving your injury becomes an uphill battle. The insurance company may reject your claim, and even an Atlanta personal injury lawyer may hesitate to take your case if your claim lacks the necessary evidence.
The Importance of Prompt Medical Examinations
Seeking a medical examination immediately after any accident is imperative. This ensures that hidden or latent injuries, which may evolve into serious medical issues, are detected early. Timely medical attention also aids your attorney in securing the compensation you deserve by providing crucial medical records and documentation for your personal injury claim.
Remember to keep copies of all medical records, bills, and receipts securely. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding prescription medications, follow-up appointments, treatment, and specialist referrals. Failure to adhere to your doctor’s recommendations may give the negligent party’s insurance company grounds to dispute the severity of your injuries.
How the Right Accident Lawyer Can Assist You
After an injury, you should focus on regaining your health and everyday routines. An Atlanta accident attorney can handle negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.
Most personal injury lawyers in Georgia are skilled negotiators. Attempting to negotiate or represent yourself can be risky, given the complexity of the law. Anything you say or any mistake you make can be used against you by the insurance company.
If negotiations with the insurance company do not yield a satisfactory settlement offer, your personal injury lawyer can escalate your claim to court. There, they will explain to a jury how you were injured and the extent of your injuries, seeking an order for the payment of your compensation.
When you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, seeking justice and compensation is your right under Georgia state law. By partnering with an attorney and promptly seeking medical attention, you protect your health and increase your chances of securing the compensation you deserve. When you bring a personal injury claim with an attorney’s help, the law is 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.