How Does Not Immediately Seeking Medical Treatment Impact An Injury Case?
It can really take all sorts of shapes and forms and it depends on how big the gap is. A gap of a couple of months can lead to big problems in proving causation and can cut off recovery for damages. A couple of weeks usually aren’t a big problem. It can also depend on how outrageous the conduct of the other driver is. In cases where the defendant has behaved egregiously, and where the plaintiffs have absolutely no fault, the defense may not be as successful in arguing that a plaintiff’s damages should be reduced or that certain treatment should not be considered due to a gap in treatment.
A gap in treatment can be problematic for proving causation in any case, so the best thing to do is to follow your doctor’s orders. Of course, taking all of the facts and circumstances into account, sometimes a gap in treatment is easier to deal with in some cases, and attorneys are going to have to do the best they can with the case they have. No case comes without blemishes and there’s no such thing as a perfect case, but as a client you can do your part and make sure that you avoid the pitfalls where possible.
We’re not asking for anything too out of this world here, just to do what a reasonable person would do under the circumstances, which would be to follow up with care as soon as you can. And it makes sense, because essentially our cases are brought where someone failed to do what a reasonable person would have done.
It only makes sense that the plaintiff would be held to the same standard.
Gaps in Treatment
Often, gaps in treatment arise in difficult situations where an individual does not have health insurance, for instance. That can pose some other issues. Sometimes people try to seek care and at least go to the emergency room—maybe they don’t have a primary care physician to follow up with—but they’ve gotten to the emergency room. Once they’ve had some preliminary diagnostics done, then if they get in touch with the attorney’s office, a lot of the time, we are able to work out an arrangement with the healthcare provider either by an assignment and authorization or some other sort of letter of protection where the medical provider will agree to hold their medical bills and not submit them to collection in exchange for an agreement to have the attorney hold the amount necessary to satisfy the bills from a treating provider out of any settlement or recovery.
Many doctors are willing to enter into such agreements so that patients can get the care they need immediately and the doctor is protected as far as getting payment at the end of the case, but that’s something that is very fact specific. It’s always important to talk with your attorney about that, particularly if you do not have health insurance.