Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which cause painful, debilitating symptoms. Some symptoms take a little time to present themselves. For instance, you might feel a little sore at the crash scene, but then notice much worse symptoms within a day or two afterward.
Delayed symptoms can cause victims to think they are not seriously injured. They may even refuse medical treatment at the scene.
Refusing medical care is not a good idea, and not just because it can allow your injuries to worsen. Refusing medical care makes it harder to connect your injuries to the crash that caused them.
Injured in a car accident in Northeast Ohio? Call to schedule a free consultation: 216-621-0070.
Why Do Crash Victims Refuse Medical Treatment?
Some people rarely go to the doctor, even if they are in pain and have an injury that makes everyday life difficult. They may assume their injury will heal on its own. Many crash victims just want to avoid the hassles of going to the emergency room.
Crash victims also tend to downplay the seriousness of their injuries. This may be because they do not want to take time away from work or their family to deal with an injury. They may also assume they can take it easy, and that their injuries will go away on their own within a few days or weeks.
The problem is your body could trick you into thinking you are not seriously injured. Car crashes are traumatic experiences that cause your body to release adrenaline. This can help cover up the symptoms of an injury. Your body does this to protect you because it thinks you are in danger. If you do not feel a lot of pain, your body thinks you will be able to get away from the danger.
Risks of Refusing Medical Care at the Crash Scene
After a car crash, your health and safety are paramount. Even though you may be able to file a legal claim against the at-fault driver, which is secondary to the treatment of your injuries.
If you refuse treatment at the scene and wait a couple of days to go to the hospital, your injuries could get much worse. If you have a brain injury, such as a brain bleed, waiting to seek treatment could become a life-threatening situation.
If you have a back injury, wait to seek treatment, and maintain the same level of physical activity, your injury could worsen and become more difficult to treat. You could be putting yourself at greater risk for long-term or even permanent symptoms.
The only people who should make judgments about the seriousness of your injuries are qualified medical professionals. You might be right that your injuries are minor, but this is something you should confirm with a licensed medical professional.
How Not Getting Treatment Can Affect Your Insurance Claim or Lawsuit
Car insurance companies are always looking for some reason to deny or undervalue injury claims for compensation. If you refuse treatment at any point in the legal process, they are certainly going to use that against you.
They may say your injury is not that big of a deal, which is why you stopped getting treatment. They may say you were injured by something besides the crash. They may say you just want to get treatment for a condition that you were suffering from before the crash.
The insurance company may cite these things as reasons why your claim should be denied, or why you should be offered a small amount of compensation.
It is important to point out you may still be able to seek compensation if you refused treatment at the scene and went to the hospital later. However, it may be significantly harder to prove your case. This is just one reason why you should consider seeking legal help from an experienced Cleveland vehicle accident lawyer.
Can I Refuse Treatment Later in the Process?
While getting medical treatment soon after an auto accident is important, continuing your treatment is also vital. This means going to all your follow-up appointments and not stopping the treatment process. Skipping appointments without rescheduling them or disobeying the doctor’s orders gives the insurance company reasons to attack your credibility.
If you stop treatment, the insurance company is going to say you have recovered and they should not have to pay for any more treatment of your car crash injury. Insurance companies want to protect their interests, so they are always looking for a reason to pay out as little compensation as possible.
All that said, you have the right to refuse treatment. You may disagree with the doctor’s treatment recommendation. You may think the treatment is too risky or invasive. You might even decide to go to another doctor for a second opinion.
Contact Friedman, Domiano and Smith After a Cleveland Car Crash
Ultimately, you are in control of your medical treatment, but you need to know how refusing treatment can affect a claim for compensation.
The insurance company is sure to use decisions to refuse or continue treatment against you. They may attack your credibility and claim you were injured by something besides the crash.
In these situations, you need an experienced lawyer’s assistance. At Friedman, Domiano and Smith, we have been taking on car insurance companies for decades, and we know how to secure the results our clients need.
Our services come with no upfront cost. Call to learn more: 216-621-0070.
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