HOW SOON AFTER AN INJURY SHOULD SOMEONE CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?
Yesterday is probably the best answer, in order to get an idea of what needs to be done. When people ask when they should get treatment for their injuries, I also give the same reply, because it puts them in the frame of mind that they need to immediately get help, which is the right frame of mind for a number of reasons.
Obviously, if they have been injured, they shouldn’t wait to be treated, or to get the tests necessary to find out if there are internal injuries, fractured bones, herniated discs, or concussions or brain injuries. Tests like MRI and CAT scans, X-rays or blood tests may be necessary immediately in order to rule major injuries in or out. If the injuries are not major, the individual needs to follow up with medical care and physical therapy, chiropractic care or continued monitoring. These things are important to get under control, as is getting to the right healthcare providers as quickly as possible.
Another reason to get medical treatment immediately is for their personal injury claim because the longer a person waits to get medical treatment, the lower the value of their claim goes. The insurance company will assert that, if you’re really hurt badly, you’re going to get medical treatment immediately and, if not, you can’t be hurt that badly. Delaying medical treatment can not only hurt you, it can also hurt your personal injury claim, since it’ll appear that you weren’t hurt that badly.
Another issue with medical treatment is gaps in treatment. Doctors and other healthcare providers will note in the person’s medical history that they need additional follow-up or treatment, and those medical notes are necessary for a lawyer to review and evaluate the degree of their client’s injury and present that to the insurance company, which will decide if they think the medical records show the reason, necessity and relation to the accident to see if they should be liable for treatment. These medical notes always say at the end if the person needs to come back in 6 weeks or one month or two weeks unless they’re being discharged.
If an individual who is seeking medical treatment and has a personal injury claim does not follow the doctor’s orders and they don’t come back in two weeks, or they skip doctor, chiropractor or physical therapy appointments several times through the course of their treatment, insurance company adjusters will pick up on that immediately and suggest they’re not badly injured, if they’re missing so many appointments or they’re not doing what their healthcare providers have told them to do, so they can’t have that much pain and suffering, and therefore they should not be given so much money.