Will a Failure to Obtain Medical Treatment Harm My Auto Accident Claims?

The question of how a failure to get medical treatment following a car accident will affect the claim comes up fairly frequently.  The answer will depend upon the circumstances.

Inability to Get Recommended Medical Care

The fact is that many people that are injured in auto accidents have no access to medical care.  Unfortunately, many of those injured have no medical insurance.  Likewise, they often do not have auto insurance medical payment coverage which would cover medical expenses up to a set limit in case of an auto accident.

Insurance companies frequently dispute the necessity and amount of medical care needed after an auto accident.
In addition, the insurance carrier for the person or entity that caused the injuries will not and does not have to advance these costs prior to a settlement or judgment.  In fact, the insurance company frequently disputes the necessity and amount of these medical expenses.

In cases such as these, the failure to obtain recommended medical treatment would not necessarily harm your case.  However, it does make the case a little more complicated.

Willful Failure to Obtain Medical Treatment

The situation is very different in those cases where the injured person willfully fails to obtain treatment.  This would involve the situation where the injured person has access to medical treatment but fails to obtain it.

Whether or not failure to get medical treatment will affect your case will depend on why you did not get medical care.  Willful failure may harm the case while an inability to get care will not.
This actually comes up more frequently than one might expect.  There are those cases where the person simply does not follow the advice of medical providers in treatment.  In other words, the person refuses to follow the treatment recommendations.

Far more often, the situation involves patients that miss appointments and follow-ups.  The failure to keep appointments and follow-ups can have significant negative consequences for the settlement of a case.

No Medical Treatment, No Injuries?

The insurance adjuster will often take the position that the failure to obtain treatment when it is available or the failure to keep appointments as an indication that the injuries and harm either do not exist or they have been exaggerated.

Medical documentation proves that your injuries exist. Obviously, a lack of documentation does not necessarily mean there were no injuries as the the insurance company may argue.
This obviously makes the settlement of the claim more difficult.  Medical documentation of injuries is crucial to a settlement or trial if it comes to that.  Without medical documentation, it is exceedingly difficult to prove injuries.

Moreover, medical documentation showing the failure to get recommended treatment where it is available can be equally or even more damaging.  After all, if the medical treatment is available and the injured person fails to obtain it for no good reason, then it might legitimately be questioned how serious the injuries really are.

Estimates of Future Medical Expense

The damages or recovery in a personal injury case will often include recovery for future medical expenses.  In those cases where the injured person willfully neglected medical treatment, the calculation of future expense can be complicated and difficult to say the least.

Estimating future medical expenses is very important, and are difficult to calculate.
The more common situation is the situation mentioned above where the injured person simply has no access to medical treatment.  In those cases, the calculation of future medicals is critically important and fairly challenging.

The calculation of future medical expenses is often dependent upon the treatment recommendations of a medical provider.  In other words, a medical provider may say that a surgery will be required.  It is then necessary to estimate what that surgery will costs.

In cases where an individual can not afford medical care, an attorney may know of a way to help get medical treatment for these people.
In those cases where the injured person has no access to medical care, this can be somewhat challenging.  However, an experienced personal injury attorney will often be able to find a medical provider for these purposes at no advance costs to the patient.  This is done under a letter of protection, which is worth learning about if you do not know what that is.

Complexities Abound

The above discussion is a fairly simplistic discussion of the issues. There may be countless variables and variations from one situation to the next.  It is very important that you understand the complexities and challenges so that you may fully recover for your injuries.

Because these situations are rather complex, it is important to seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney experienced in car accidents, insurance issues and medical expense issues.  Going at it alone against an insurance company in a case like this will rarely be to your advantage.

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