If you were in a car accident caused by another driver, you know to go to your doctor or the emergency room immediately if you suffered injuries. However, some people do not seek prompt medical care following a car accident. A number of reasons people make this mistake include:
- They want to save money on medical expenses.
- They do not believe they were seriously injured.
- They wrongly think they can tough it out.
However, this is a big mistake not only for your health but also for your possible claim for compensation against the negligent driver who caused your injuries.
Follow the 72-Hour Rule for Seeking Medical Care
Even if you do not believe you were injured, you should see your doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Why is this important? There are several reasons:
- Unknown conditions. The symptoms of some common injuries caused by an auto accident—like traumatic brain injury, spinal and back injuries, soft tissue injuries, and internal bleeding—may not become apparent for days or longer after the crash. You do not want to make your condition worse—sometimes life-threatening—by failing to obtain prompt medical care.
- Damage to your claim for compensation. Insurance companies often follow a 72-hour rule for evaluating claims. If you do not seek medical care within 72 hours of your accident, the insurance adjuster will use this as an argument to deny or reduce your claim. He could argue that the injuries were caused by some event other than the crash or that you are exaggerating your injuries. This 72-hour rule is actually factored into a number of computer programs insurance companies use to arrive at a settlement amount, reducing the value of the claim when the victim delays treatment.
What Happens If You Did Not Seek Prompt Medical Care?
While you do not want to jeopardize your health or your claim for the compensation you deserve by not seeing a doctor soon after your accident, you may not have realized the importance of this right after your accident. You may have honestly believed you suffered no injuries until days or weeks after your crash. The good news is that your failure to see a doctor does not ruin your claim for compensation from the negligent driver. An experienced car accident attorney will know how to handle this problem in your case—and many much worse mistakes made by accident victims.
If you or a family member was injured in a crash caused by another driver, call our firm at 866-299-0558 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team. We will be happy to answer your questions and give you advice about your legal options.