It's probably one of the top five reasons people screw up their own personal injury case - waiting too long before seeing a doctor after they've been injured in a car accident. How long is too long? Generally, anything beyond a week is too long. Some insurance companies believe three days is too long.
The point is this - if you've been injured, and even if you are not sure, you MUST go seek health care immediately because any delay will be used against you. However, even if you did delay, all is not necessarily lost. Some insurance companies will entertain any kind of self-help you did as "active" treatment. In other words, you have to demonstrate what you did at home to alleviate your pain. Did you ice the injury, did you sleep in and rest, did you take ibuprofen, did you lay down on your couch to rest, etc? You need to explain that you didn't just sit around and do nothing for two weeks, then decide to see a doctor.
However, the key is "convincing" an insurance adjuster you did more than sit around. How can you do that? Well, the best way to convince the adjuster is by telling your doctor about your self-help remedies during your first visit. Therefore, you must not only tell the doctor or the intake person at the doctor's office but also write it down on any intake forms. Documentation is everything. Remind the doctor to include such information in any reports generated by the doctor. At the very least, it needs to be in your records. For example, the doctor's report can say, "Mr. Smith came to seem me two weeks after his accident. He tried pain medication and ice at home to no avail. He tried hot showers and laying down, again without significant improvement. He eventually decided to visit with a doctor as his pain wasn't getting better." Do you see how this is much better than the inference that you just sat around doing nothing? Remember one of the biggest rules when it comes to personal injury cases: If something is not in your medical records or the doctor's reports, then it basically never happened as far as the insurance adjuster is concerned.
Robert Mansour handles personal injury cases in Santa Clarita and its surrounding communities including Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, Palmdale, Lancaster and beyond. Call (661) 414-7100 for help with your accident case.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.