It should come as no surprise that without a personal injury having been suffered, a personal injury claim or lawsuit can’t be filed against the responsible party. But did you know that just suffering a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence isn’t always enough to ensure that you’re able to file a successful claim or lawsuit against them?
The steps you take after your injuries have been suffered are just as important to your personal injury claim as the initial injury itself. And that’s because, without proof that you’re taking action on your own behalf to try and medically address your injuries, it can be pretty tough to convince legal teams and insurance companies that you are deserving of any sort of compensation for your injuries.
How Personal Injury Claims Work
It’s first important to understand exactly what a personal injury claim is, and when one can and should be filed. By definition, a personal injury occurs when the negligent behavior of one person results in the injury of another. When this occurs, a claim or a lawsuit is filed by the victim against the responsible party, or defendant, because the victim is seeking damages for the harm they’ve suffered. Often, the hopeful result of such a claim or lawsuit is to have the defendant who caused the harm (or someone associated with them, like their insurance provider) monetarily compensate the victim who suffered the harm so that they have the funds they need to address their injuries and the repercussions from those injuries appropriately.
This compensation amount can be reached by way of negotiation between the two parties until they come to a settlement agreement, which is a monetary amount that both parties agree upon without the need to take the case to court. But if no such agreement can be reached, the claim or lawsuit may make its way to proceedings in front of a judge and jury to decide who should be held responsible, and if and how the victim should be compensated for the damages suffered.
This monetary compensation for a personal injury claim is based on several important factors but primarily relies on the extent of the injuries the victim suffered, how those injuries have impacted their life, and what it’s going to take in order to appropriately address them and work toward making them better. That’s why your medical treatment after your injury is so important to your case—without it, you have no evidence that points to the fact that you have injuries you’re making an effort to recover from.
How Medical Treatment Can Benefit Your Personal Injury Claim
Ideally, the more medical treatment and attention you need to properly address your injuries, the more monetary compensation you should be entitled to at the end of your personal injury claim or lawsuit. But this ideal can only be achieved with the right proof to back it up. And the best way to prove that you are, in fact, in need of the money you claim you need is to follow through on all the medical treatment that is recommended by your doctors and other medical specialists.
It often goes that the more severe your injuries are, the more medical treatment and attention you need. But if you don’t actually seek out that medical attention and follow through with it according to a regimen that will best lead to your recovery, lawyers and insurance providers aren’t going to care how severe your injuries are. Because if they don’t believe you’re being proactive about your recovery, then why should they?
Not only is seeking out and adhering to the proper medical treatment the right choice to make for your own health and well-being, but it also establishes proof in your case. All the emergency services, surgeries, therapy, medications, and consultations you may need to address your injuries are costly—even with the help of health insurance. But the way those costs add up is the best indicator of the value of your case. In other words, they start to establish an actual, monetary number that your personal injury attorney believes you should strive to obtain from the plaintiff, and they will argue for that number on your behalf.
But these numbers can’t be argued if they simply don’t exist. So, the more necessary medical treatment you seek out in relation to your injuries, the more your settlement or verdict amount can add up. This means working closely with your doctor on creating and sticking to a treatment plan that’s right for you, including having recommended surgeries, attending physical therapy sessions, not missing appointments or consultations, and filling and taking your prescriptions as recommended. It also means keeping track of your medical records and the bills associated with them, as those are the true pieces of proof your case needs in order to obtain the highest settlement amount possible.
How Refusing Medical Treatment Can Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
Medical treatment can be a detriment to your personal injury claim only in the way that it’s not involved in your claim. In other words, seeking out medical treatment isn’t often a reason your settlement amount would become less valuable—rather, it’s avoiding or neglecting important medical treatment that would have a negative impact on that value.
Remember, personal injury claims and lawsuits are filed because the victim needs and deserves to be monetarily compensated for the harm they’ve been put through. This harm includes the injuries they’ve suffered and the often-expensive medical treatment required to address those injuries. So if there isn’t proof that you’ve taken sufficient steps toward seeking out the medical treatment you need to get better, that can ultimately harm the strength and value of your case.
For example, if there are gaps in your recommended treatment, insurance companies will home in on that fact and use it to claim that your injuries weren’t or aren’t concerning enough to seek ongoing treatment for them. We especially see this happen in situations when, after the accident initially happens and the victim gets the immediate treatment they need, they start to “feel better.”
Because they believe they’re feeling better and feel they don’t need to be wasting time and money on continuing medical treatment, they ignore their doctor’s recommendations. But then, a few months later, they start feeling aftereffects or symptoms of their lack of treatment, and their pain and injuries get worse. That being the case, they may end up needing additional medical treatment, which means they might expect additional compensation to address it when filing a personal injury claim. But if the insurance provider sees that to be the case, they may reasonably argue that the gaps in treatment indicate that the injuries can’t possibly be as bad as the victim is now claiming—even if that might not be true.
Though we always recommend reaching out to a personal injury attorney after you’ve been involved in a severe accident of any kind, the above may be the same reason why we at Finney Injury Law may actually decline to take on a case. If we look at the victim’s medical records and notice gaps in their treatment or seemingly intentional ignorance of their doctor’s recommendations, that makes it difficult for our team to argue that this person needs financial compensation on a large scale. Because again, if you aren’t looking out for your own well-being when you have the means to, then why should you expect others to?
So don’t let your stubbornness, fearfulness, or even monetary worries keep you from seeking the medical treatment you need. Not only will it help your recovery process in both the short term and long term, but it will help to establish necessary proof in your personal injury claim or lawsuit, and increase the likelihood of a full and fair settlement.
Hire a Missouri Personal Injury Trial Attorney
It is crucial to examine the specifics of your injury with an accomplished personal injury lawyer who can assist in defending your legal rights and interests whether you were injured in an accident or in any other way. Call the trial lawyers at the Finney Law Firm at 314-293-4222 to speak with a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation.