After an auto collision, you have filed the police report, exchanged insurance information with the other driver, and have called someone to pick you up. What is your next step?
For most people, all they can think about is getting home–and we understand! A collision, even a minor or moderate incident, can be shocking, emotional, and exhausting. You may be in pain and figure that an ice pack and a good night’s rest are all you need.
What is a gap in treatment?
But you could be making a huge mistake by skipping the hospital after an auto collision or waiting too long before seeking medical attention. We call this a “gap in treatment,” and this can have a huge effect on a personal injury claim.
There are two situations that are considered a gap in treatment:
1. Waiting several weeks after a collision before seeking medical treatment for pain or injuries.
2. Going to the ER, being dismissed with no serious injuries, and waiting several weeks before seeking care for ongoing pain.
How long is a gap in treatment?
In both cases, a person who waits several weeks or even several days before receiving medical attention could jeopardize his or her case with the insurance company. In an effort to save time and money, the person may end up with a much bigger problem–both for their case and their body.
How can I avoid a gap in treatment?
So how can you avoid a gap in treatment? Here are 2 things to keep in mind:
1. Seek medical attention right away.
Sometimes pain or stiffness doesn’t occur until a day or two after the incident. Don’t delay in seeking treatment. An insurance company can argue that your pain or injury must not be serious or even related to the collision because you waited several days or weeks before seeing your physician.
2. Keep seeking treatment until the issue is resolved.
Some injuries require a longer period of treatment. But ongoing medical treatment is also valuable for keeping documentation of how the collision has affected you. Go to all of your appointments and be very open and honest with your physician. From the initial visit onward, clearly communicate all pain, discomfort, or emotional distress you are feeling.
In any auto collision case, however, there is the possibility of error at every turn. Going to the wrong doctor, being overtreated, a delay in surgery, and more can be used against you. This is one reason why having a personal injury lawyer on your side each step of the way can help you avoid making costly mistakes. Richard Smith has been practicing personal injury law for 30 years and has helped many people through the aftermath of auto collisions. Give him a call at (864) 300-4878 for a consultation.
Disclaimer: Principle office is located at 1210 Laurens Rd, Greenville, SC 29607. No fee unless the case is settled or won, costs may be excluded.