Refusing medical treatment immediately following an accident does not make you ineligible for pursuing a personal injury claim against the other driver. However, you’ll still need to prove that your injuries are the direct result of the accident.
The sooner you seek medical care after an accident, the better. It will be far easier to prove correlations between your injuries and the accident if a doctor has documented those injuries shortly after the accident.
Read on to learn the benefits of seeking care soon after an accident and when it might be time to talk to an attorney.
Reasons to Seek Medical Care After an Accident
Seeking medical care after an accident is wise, even if you think you feel fine. So whether your accident was a few hours ago or a few days ago, you should schedule a visit with your primary care physician. You’ll experience the following benefits from making one quick appointment:
- Review any medical concerns, including minor aches and pains that could have severe underlying causes
- Prevent minor injuries from becoming serious ones by catching them early and beginning treatment.
- Recover quickly by starting treatment immediately after the accident.
- Prove compliance with your doctor’s care plan when pursuing a personal injury claim.
- Document the injuries in case you decide to file a claim against the at-fault party. The longer time there is between the accident and your medical evaluation, the easier it will be for the other party to call into question the cause of your injuries.
Virginia Contributory Negligence Law
Failing to seek medical care quickly and follow your doctor’s care plan could give the insurance company grounds to claim contributory negligence. Or, something that you say during your interactions with the insurance company could become evidence in a case against you to prove you contributed to the accident that led to your injuries.
And if the insurance company succeeds in proving contributory negligence, you’ll be barred from recovering damages for your injuries under Virginia’s contributory negligence law. It’s a very strict law that only four states in the country follow.
Even if you’re found to be only one percent at fault for the accident, you won’t be able to pursue financial damages against the person or entity responsible for the other 99 percent. This is why it is important to work with an attorney from the start to avoid missteps and recorded statements.
When Is It Time to Talk to an Attorney?
Many people will tell you that a clear sign it’s time to talk to an attorney is when the insurance company starts giving you a hard time about paying your bills. The challenge with that advice is that you’ll have already begun discussing the claim with the insurance company and be at risk of having said or done the wrong thing.
The best time to talk with an attorney is once you know you’ve suffered injuries due to an accident. You want to engage the advice of an attorney long before you start discussing the claim with the insurance company. This will protect your rights and arm you with valuable information about how to work with the insurance company and what pitfalls to avoid during those discussions.
Sadly, insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. They are working to limit their liabilities and close out claims as quickly as possible. That means getting victims to accept low settlement agreements before they know the full extent of their injuries or the correlating expenses.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation Regarding Your Accident
Geoff McDonald & Associates offers a free consultation to prepare you for interactions with an insurance company and arm you with knowledge about how to document your injuries and expenses. Schedule your free consultation now.