How Skipping Medical Appointments Can Hurt an Injury Claim
Posted by PKSD Law Firm on July 27, 2022 in Personal Injury
Injured by someone else’s negligence and need to seek compensation? Learn how missing medical appointments could hurt your injury claim.
At PKSD, you can meet with one of our qualified attorneys to discuss the unique details of your situation. This meeting is completely free, with no obligation to hire our firm. If we do end up representing you, we take injury cases on contingency. This means, you pay no money up front or while we manage your case.
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Filing an Injury Claim to Recover Compensation
Injury victims have a right to recover compensation for damages caused by someone else. That said, it is still a legal process and certain things must happen for your claim to be successful.
Understanding the Basics of an Injury Claim
When you file a claim, you are asking the liable insurer to pay for the damages their policyholder caused. However, the insurance company will not do that without first:
- Investigating your claim
- Validating your injuries
- Disputing the percentage of fault assigned to their policyholder
- Defending the at-fault party to try to reduce or deny payment to you
What is the Victim’s Role in an Injury Claim?
As the injured victim, you and your attorney also have steps to follow in the legal process. For instance, when you file a claim, you will need to include:
- Details about the accident, including where and what happened
- How their policyholder was involved and what injuries you sustained
- What damages resulted from their policyholder’s actions
- Evidence that supports the at-fault party’s negligence
It is not a short process, especially if you have extensive injuries. There are several mistakes you could make along the way that can hurt your claim.
Missing medical appointments is one misstep you want to avoid doing in any injury claim. First of all, skipping medical care greatly risks your health. It may also hurt your claim and cause you to end up with far less compensation. In some cases, injury victims who fail to continue their medical care during an injury claim end up with nothing.
Seeking Treatment Creates a Medical Record
Whenever you see a physician, undergo testing or receive any type of medical treatment, it gets added to your medical records. In an injury claim, this official document may be used as evidence. On the positive side, seeking medical care right after an accident, such as a car crash, helps support your claim by providing details that link your injuries to the event, such as:
- Date, time and cause of your injuries
- Diagnosis of the injuries you sustained
- Extent and severity of your injuries
- Your prescribed plan of care and estimated prognosis
Alternatively, the absence of certain records can hurt your injury claim. For instance, if an injured victim waits for a couple of days after a car crash to seek medical care. The longer you wait, the harder it is prove where and when you got hurt. Delays also create time gaps that give insurers the ability to argue that your injuries happened somewhere else.
Why Does it Matter if I Miss Medical Appointments in an Injury Claim?
If you sought emergency medical care after your accident, you may wonder why skipping medical appointments is such a big deal. To answer that question, it is important to remember what your claim is about.
As the injured victim, you are telling the insurance company their policyholder caused you harm. You are also asking them to compensate you for the damages you sustained in that accident. Keeping that in mind, it is reasonable to argue that when people get injured, they get medical help. If an injury is not all that bad, an individual will likely self-treat at home. Thus, the logic is that if you missed medical appointments, your injuries are likely very minor. Additionally:
Skipping Medical Care Could Risk Your Health
Many victims injured in a car crash or other accident may initially seek medical care and then not get any further treatment. However, failing to follow your physician’s care plan can put your health at risk. It could also limit your ability to fully heal from your injuries. In some cases, skipping medical appointments could cause your injuries to get worse. It may also lead to chronic pain or other secondary complications that you could have avoided.
Skipping Medical Appointments Weakens Evidence for Your Claim
Every visit related to your injuries creates additional evidence in your medical records. This is true whether surgery is recommended or if you are going to weekly physical therapy. These records further strengthen your claim and the injuries caused by the at-fault party.
Alternatively, missing medical appointments and ignoring your doctor’s care plan means there is no further entry added to your medical records. When the insurance company reviews these records, the absence of further treatments could impact your claim in a bad way. Skipping recommended treatment strongly indicates that your injuries are not as bad as you say. The insurance company may think if you are exaggerating your injuries, there are other holes in your statement as well.
Not Continuing Medical Care Damages Your Credibility
Missing medical appointments or just discontinuing your treatments does more than risk your health or weaken your evidence. It also creates doubt about your credibility. The perception is that if you do not continue your medical care, you do not want to get better or your injuries are only minor. The missed appointments will be in your records instead of follow-up treatment notes. The damage to your claim could be considerable.
Why Do Some Injury Victims Miss Medical Appointments?
Sometimes injury victims may have doubts, either about the recommended treatment or the doctor providing the care.
For instance, if a doctor recommends surgery, an injury victim may wonder whether it is really needed. All surgeries carry inherent risks, such as developing an infection. Victims may be concerned and wonder if the potential outcome makes the risk worthwhile. In this situation, however, it is better not to skip an appointment, but rather to seek a second opinion.
Call PKSD When You Need Help With Your Legal Claim
At PKSD, we have team of qualified legal professionals that have been representing injured victims for decades. To date, we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients.
If you were injured by the negligence of another person, we are prepared to help. Our Milwaukee-based personal injury lawyers have extensive experience and are ready to seek maximum compensation. Working with an attorney from day one can also help you avoid making errors, like missing medical appointments, that could hurt your claim.
Contact our firm today to learn more. We are available to take your call anytime, night or day.
Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. 877-877-2228