How Gaps in Medical Treatment Can Weaken Your Personal Injury Claim

By March 7, 2016Personal Injury

Personal Injury ClaimGaps in your medical treatment can reduce the chance of receiving full compensation for injuries you sustain in an accident. Read more to learn how not to weaken your claim for compensation.

Gaps in Medical Treatment After an Oklahoma Personal Injury Case

One of the most common things that insurance adjusters and/or defendant’s attorneys will use against you in your personal injury claim are gaps in medical treatment.

Although gaps at any time in the treatment process can be used against you to reduce or deny your claim for compensation, treatment gaps that begin just after the accident can be most damaging. For example, when the accident takes place and possible examinations are completed, but then do not lead to significant treatment until several months later, it may be difficult to successfully argue that the pain and necessary medical treatment were a result of the accident. Since your treatment did not begin until long after the accident took place, this can leave room for doubt.

The same is true if you receive treatment for pain over several months, stop receiving treatment for an extended period, then resume treatment again. The insurance adjuster or plaintiff’s attorney may argue that you fully recovered and re-started treatment to increase compensation, or that you needed additional treatment after suffering from a different injury. If either is the case, compensate may not be granted to you.

Legitimate Reasons for Gaps in Your Medical Treatment

There are, of course, legitimate reasons why you may delay or have gaps in your treatment. Sometimes symptoms take a while to appear after an injury. Likewise, your injuries might appear to be better, then take a turn for the worse.

Also, injured victims often do not have insurance or disposable income to pay for treatment immediately. You may be in pain and need treatment, but simply do not have the money to get it. While it seems unfair to punish an injured victim for not getting treatment when he or she did not have the means to do so, this is a frequent and unfortunate reality in personal injury cases.

Optimally, your lawyer can try to explain to the jury why there was a delay or gap in your treatment and, if possible, make the defendant’s lawyer look mean-spirited for using it against you, especially if it was due to lack of money.

Bear in mind that you don’t have to continue to get medical treatment if you do not have symptoms or have been released from treatment. However, if you still have symptoms, it will benefit your case if you continue to get regular and consistent treatment for as long as necessary.

If you cannot afford treatment, talk to your doctor about whether he or she would be willing to accept a letter of protection from your attorney. If not, continue to look for a willing doctor. This, unfortunately, may present its own challenges, but it may offer an alternative way to take care of your health and ensure minimal gaps in treatment.

Contact a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney

If you are looking for a knowledgeable and competent personal injury lawyer, you should seek someone with a reputation for concern and a track record of obtaining favorable outcomes for your case. At Carey, Danis & Lowe, we offer a no-cost and no-obligation consultation. We will discuss your case and determine how best to help you. You will only be charged if compensation is recovered for you. Call us today at (877) 678-3400 / Phone (314) 725-7700 to schedule an appointment or fill out one of our contact forms.