Why Getting the Medical Care You Need is Important for Protecting Your Legal Rights After an Accident in Pennsylvania

April 16, 2024
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When you suffer serious injuries in an accident, getting the medical care you need can be critical for minimizing the accident’s long-term consequences. With many types of traumatic injuries—from concussions to broken bones—a prompt diagnosis and effective treatment are essential for avoiding unnecessary complications.

Getting the medical care you need is also important for protecting your legal rights.

The reason why might not be obvious right away. But, the more you learn about your legal rights, the clearer it will become why you need to prioritize your medical care if you plan on filing a claim. As we discuss below, seeing a doctor as soon after your accident as possible is one of the most important steps you can take to maximize your chances of recovering full compensation.

Why Seeing a Doctor Promptly Can Be Critical to Your Claim for Just Compensation

Whether you were injured in a vehicle collision, slip-and-fall, or any other type of accident, you should see a doctor as soon after your accident as you can. From a medical perspective, making sure you get the treatment you need—and avoiding movements or activities that could exacerbate your injuries—is critical for helping ensure that you recover as fully and quickly as possible.

But, seeing a doctor promptly is important from a legal perspective as well. Here’s why:

1. Your Medical Records Will Serve as Evidence of the Timing and Cause of Your Injuries

When you have a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania, a key element of your claim is “causation.” To recover just compensation, you must be able to prove that the accident caused your injuries. Your medical records can be key evidence in this regard.

If you see a doctor promptly, your medical records will serve as evidence of both the timing and cause of your injuries. Your doctor will be able to assess (and document) how long it has been since you got injured, and your doctor will also be able to confirm that your injuries are consistent with the type of accident in which you were involved. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more difficult it will be for your doctor to make these assessments—and the insurance companies will use this against you.

2. Your Medical Records Will Serve as Evidence of the Severity of Your Injuries

By seeing a doctor promptly, you can also help ensure that your medical records reflect the severity of your injuries. Once your injuries start to heal, it will be more difficult to assess (and document) how severe they were when they happened. Since proving the severity of your injuries is crucial for maximizing your financial recovery, this is an important reason to get the medical care you need right away as well.

3. Relying on Your Doctor’s Advice Will Prevent the Insurance Companies from Blaming You for Your Own Costs

One way the insurance companies fight accident victims’ personal injury claims is by blaming victims for their own costs. In some cases, this involves blaming victims for causing their own injuries. In others, it involves blaming victims for increasing their long-term costs by not getting the medical care they need when they need it.

As a result, getting medical treatment promptly—and then following your doctor’s advice—will eliminate one of the insurance companies’ potential defenses to liability. If you do everything your doctor tells you (or seek a second opinion promptly if you feel that one is necessary), the insurance companies won’t be able to claim that you should have done more to help minimize the costs of your injuries.

4. Having a Clear Understanding of Your Medical Needs Will Allow You (and Your Lawyer) to Accurately Calculate Your Long-Term Financial Costs

When you have a personal injury claim, it is up to you (and your lawyer) to determine how much you should seek from the insurance companies. Since the value of your claim is based on the costs of your injuries, having a clear understanding of these costs is vital to making informed decisions. If you don’t know how much you are entitled to recover, you won’t know when (and if) to settle, and you could very easily end up settling for much less than you deserve.

Calculating the value of your claim involves not only adding up your costs to date, but calculating your injuries’ future costs as well. Having a clear understanding of your medical needs is vital for determining how much money you will need to cover your long-term medical expenses, prescription costs, lost earnings and other out-of-pocket losses.

5. Documenting Your Injuries’ Effects Will Help with Proving Your Pain and Suffering

Along with your out-of-pocket losses, if you have a personal injury claim, you are also entitled to just compensation for your pain and suffering. Here, too, the amount you are entitled to recover is based on the long-term effects of your injuries. Generally speaking, the more severe your pain and suffering—and the longer they will last—the more you are entitled to recover. However, there are several specific factors involved, and nearly all of these factors take into account the severity of your physical trauma.

Thus, your medical records are critical here as well. After your initial visit to the hospital or doctor’s office, you will need to follow through with your medical care to continue documenting the effects of your injuries. With this documentation in hand (along with other evidence of your pain and suffering), your lawyer will be able to present a strong case for just compensation on your behalf.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Pennsylvania Today

Have you been seriously injured in an accident in Pennsylvania? If so, we encourage you to contact us for more information. With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we handle personal injury cases statewide. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call 888-777-7098 or get in touch online today.