Nobody wants to get into an accident. However, accidents still happen. When someone has been in a car accident, it is very important that this person seek medical attention as soon as possible. According to Guy S. DiMartino, Esq., lawyer and former chiropractor, this does not only ensure that the victim prevents more serious injuries, but also increases the chances of this person to provide accurate data for insurance companies, especially those that use software programs that determine the amount of an injured person’s claim. For example, an accident victim delayed going to the hospital until he develops a bad headache. Hospital tests then revealed that he actually got some bleeding in the brain due to the accident he suffered. If he had gone to the hospital right away, it could have been detected by a simple CAT scan instead of having to undergo brain surgery which the patient ended up doing. Guy S. DiMartino advised that the timing between the time the accident occurred and the first time medical attention is received is one of the biggest data points of insurance companies.
Why Some Accident Victims Delay Seeking Medical Advice
It seems like common sense to go to the hospital right after experiencing a car accident. However, many people actually choose not to. Guy S. DiMartino has a lot of experience with clients who delay seeking medical attention after an accident. “There are two reasons that people don’t initially go to the doctor that I see,” he said. “Number one, they don’t want to be bothered. For instance, they just got an accident, they’re uptight, their car got towed away and the last thing they want to do is to go ahead and sit in a waiting room and an emergency room. The second reason why they do that is that, you know, a lot of people think they’re going to be okay. They want to will themselves better and they want to believe that everything’s going to be okay.” Guy S. DiMartino insists that it is always better to immediately seek medical attention. “It’s always best to make contact with a healthcare provider within the first day or two after an accident for a number of reasons. You might have something going on that you really need to be diagnosed and treated.”
Delaying Medical Attention Could Hurt Accident Victims Even More
Guy S. DiMartino explained that if accident victims wait longer than a week to seek medical attention after an accident, this could hurt their chances of being compensated by the insurance company. The insurance company’s lawyer would try to use the treatment gap (which refers to the gap in timing between the time of the accident and the time the patient seeks medical care) to erode the patient’s credibility. Guy S. DiMartino explained that lawyers will say something along these lines, “Use your common sense. Do you think if this person was hurt in the accident on May 1 that they wouldn’t start feeling pain until May 30?” He added, “So it’s just another hurdle that a car accident victim has to overcome. These cases are all about credibility and the longer you wait, the more your credibility goes out the window.” Some cynical jurors might doubt that the patient is really hurt because now it looks like the first thing the patient did was to seek legal advice, and they only went to see the doctor because of lawyer’s advice.