Emotions, stress, and adrenaline are running high at the scene of a car crash, so it’s not unusual for someone to sustain injuries and not realize it immediately. In that situation, they may not go to the doctor for days, weeks, or even months.
Another common situation occurs when accident victims avoid seeking medical attention for fear of having to pay astronomical medical bills.
Refusing medical treatment can have consequences, especially if you have a personal injury claim. This article outlines your options and explains how the law office of Bryan Garrett, PLLC, can help.
Can Refusing Medical Treatment Compromise Your Case?
If a paramedic or police officer at the crash scene asks if you’re injured, and you say something like, “I’m okay,” this information gets documented.
If you later try to say that the crash caused an injury, this conflicting information can be problematic for car accident claims. The insurance company will attempt to use this information against you, arguing that if you didn’t report an injury at the scene, you are not legitimately hurt.
However, even though the insurance company will use every trick at its disposal to avoid paying expenses for an auto accident injury, you still have options. This is true even if you initially refused medical treatment.
It is well-documented that after the adrenaline wears off, the stress of the incident catches up with you, and you can begin to notice injuries after the fact. Therefore, even if you don’t report an accident at the scene, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to claim an injury later.
What If You Don’t Want the Treatment Recommended by the Doctor?
If a doctor recommends a specific medical treatment, you have a right to decline it, though an insurance company will likely still try to argue your injury isn’t serious. It is therefore recommended to have a compelling reason for refusing treatment.
Be sure to articulate those reasons clearly and ask for recommendations for alternative treatments that may be less invasive or provide more benefits than what the doctor recommended.
For example, if you sustained a serious back injury in a crash, a doctor may recommend undergoing surgery. You may be reluctant to go under the knife because of the invasiveness of the procedure, the risks involved, and the length of the recovery time. You might prefer less invasive methods like chiropractic care, acupuncture, or physical therapy.
Why Seeking Medical Treatment Can Help Your Case
Your health is your most valuable asset, and it deserves to be your top priority. Further, if you don’t seek medical treatment, you won’t have medical expenses that will be reimbursed.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be eligible to receive compensation for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are a form of non-economic damages, which can be paid in addition to economic damages like lost wages and medical bills.
However, if you refuse medical treatment, you won’t be able to argue that you should receive this reimbursement.
Though you might not feel up to going to the doctor after an accident, instead preferring to go home to rest and recover. While this perspective is understandable, it can be dangerous to your health because your injury could be serious. This decision also gives an insurance company ammunition to argue against the existence of an injury.
Contact an Experienced Oklahoma City Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney
Having an auto accident lawyer on your side can level the playing field between you and your attorney. Bryan Garrett, PLLC, has more than 15 years of experience representing victims in car accident cases.
Even if you refused medical treatment, you could still have a case. Contact us for a free consultation.