DeHoyos & Connolly, PLLC
Why Texas Car Accident Victims Need To Seek Prompt Medical Attention
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may experience intense pain, stress and disorientation that can mask serious injuries. Many car accident victims underestimate the severity of their injuries following a collision and elect not to seek prompt medical attention. The decision not to seek diagnostic testing and treatment can involve refusing treatment at the scene, declining emergency medical transport to the emergency room or visiting your family doctor. The decision not to obtain prompt medical treatment following a collision can both undermine your prognosis and compromise a potential personal injury claim.
Car Accident Injuries with Delayed Symptoms - Securing a More Positive Prognosis
Many injuries suffered in car accidents in Texas do not immediately present with serious symptoms. If you suffer a closed hear injury where there is no penetration of the skull, for example, you may suffer only nominal symptoms or no immediate symptoms. However, bleeding inside the skull can cause pressure on the brain to build up causing permanent brain damage or even death. Traumatic brain injuries may occur even when a vehicle occupant's head does not strike an object because the brain may remain in motion and strike the inside of the hard bony structure of the skull even after the head has stopped moving. There are many types of injuries that do not exhibit immediate symptoms, and prompt medical attention can significantly impact your long-term medical outcome.
Establishing Evidence of the Existence and Severity of Your Injuries
While securing the most positive prognosis and preventing more serious injury is the most important reason to seek medical treatment following an auto accident, the decision to seek medical care also can prevent your personal injury claim from being compromised. Insurance carriers frequently defend against auto accident claims based on the allegation that the car crash victims are fabricating or exaggerating their injury claims. This strategy is especially common when liability is reasonably clear, such as when you are rear-ended while stopped at a red light. In such a situation, the proper measure of damages typically will be the key issue in your personal injury case.
When auto accident victims seek prompt medical attention, critical diagnostic tests can be performed that may include MRIs, CT scans and X-rays. These diagnostic exams combined with observations of the doctor and symptoms disclosed to the doctor can all provide evidence to confirm the authenticity and severity of your injuries. When you do visit the emergency room or otherwise seek medical attention, you should disclose all symptoms no matter how minor they might seem and follow up on all diagnostic tests, doctor's appointments and rehabilitative therapy.
If you suffer whiplash of the neck or spine or other hard to prove medical conditions, a delay in treatment can even result in a claim that you are malingering. Insurance carriers will often point to the decision to decline medical treatment at the accident scene as evidence that you did not suffer significant injury. The insurance carrier for the at-fault driver may claim that you subsequently decided to pretend that you were injured to "make a quick buck." If you fail to follow through on treatment, this also may be asserted as evidence that you are lying about the existence or severity of your injuries.
Duty to Mitigate Damages
A final reason to seek medical treatment if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident is that you have a legal duty to mitigate damages. Even if the other driver's negligence caused your injuries, you have a legal duty to prevent your situation from becoming worse. If you suffer more serious injury or disabilities because you did not obtain medical care, you might be denied compensation to the extent your failure to seek treatment exacerbated the severity of your injuries.
If you or someone you love is injured in a Houston auto accident, our experienced and tenacious Texas car accident lawyers offer a free initial consultation so that we can evaluate your claim and advise you regarding your rights and legal remedies. We invite you to call us to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation.