One of the biggest mistakes that injury victims make after an accident is downplaying their own injuries.
No one wants to be injured – it’s stressful, often frightening, and almost always expensive. That’s why many accident victims try to wait it out and see if their injuries get better on their own. Unfortunately, delaying treatment can not only make injuries worse, it can also significantly harm your chances of getting the compensation you need to pay for treatment!
Why You Should See a Doctor After an Accident, Even if You Believe Your Injuries Aren’t Serious
Getting medical treatment serves two very important purposes.
First, it establishes a record of what your injuries are, and when and how you were injured.
A doctor will be able to diagnose the seriousness of your injuries, so you don’t find out only months later that what you thought was a simple pulled muscle was actually a torn ligament requiring surgery to fix. Many serious injuries may not be obvious right away, including whiplash, concussions, and back injuries.
Getting a full examination also connects your injuries to the crash and not another cause. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the harder it will be to prove that you were injured in that accident, and not in some other way in the time in-between the accident and being diagnosed. The insurance company will capitalize on that lack of evidence tying your injury to their client to deny your claim.
Second, seeking medical attention right away prevents your injuries from worsening. Many minor injuries can become aggravated by lack of treatment and become more painful and more expensive to treat as a result.
Don’t Miss Your Medical Appointments
After being diagnosed, it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter. You should also make sure to attend all follow-up appointments, even if you are feeling better, until the doctor lets you know you are completely recovered.
- Taking all prescribed medications
- Completing all sessions of physical therapy, if part of your recovery plan
- Adhering to any lifestyle changes your doctor recommends
- Using provided assistive devices such as crutches or a wheelchair until your doctor gives you the all-clear
It is a common tactic of insurance companies to point to missed doctor appointments and claim that the accident victim is not as seriously injured as they claim to be, and use that to justify reducing their settlement amount.
In Georgia, accident victims also have a legal duty to “mitigate damages,” which means they should take all reasonable steps not to make their own injuries worse. When accident victims don’t follow their doctors’ recommendations and their injuries become worse or take longer to heal, the insurance company can make the argument their injuries are the result of their own actions and not only due to the person who caused the accident. In this way, they can reduce the amount they are required to pay toward the victim’s medical expenses.
Don’t Let COVID-19 Harm Your Chances of Getting Compensation
Even in a pandemic, it is important that you get the care you need after an accident. Documenting your medical condition is critical to ensuring you get the total amount of compensation you deserve.
If COVID-19 concerns are impacting your ability to get care, keep a diary or journal of the impact the injury has on your daily activities, peace of mind and family/work life. Get an early diagnostic test to confirm the injury even if you don’t intend to have surgery while the pandemic is still going on, because it won’t be forever.
After an Injury, Call Gary Bruce
After a serious injury caused by someone else, accident victims often need a lot of help to get their lives back to normal. And it can often seem like there are way too many things they need to do right, and even more things they can accidentally do wrong, when it comes to filing a compensation claim.
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we want you to be able to focus solely on getting better after your accident. When you hire our firm, we take care of filling out the paperwork, collecting evidence, communicating with the insurance company, making appointments, and more. To learn what we can do for you after a serious accident caused by someone else, contact our Georgia personal injury attorneys today and receive a free case consultation.