When you are injured in a car accident that was caused by another person, you should definitely seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to ensure that your personal injury claim is as strong as it can be.
Making a personal injury claim in Georgia
To make a claim for injuries that you suffered from a car wreck, you must generally show the following:
1. Liability: that the other driver was responsible for causing the accident;
2. Causation: that the accident caused you to suffer injuries;
3. Damages: that you incurred medical expenses or other related expenses, such as lost wages.
What do I do when I am injured in a car accident?
1. GO TO THE DOCTOR and get medical treatment;
2. Keep going to the doctor as instructed and follow up with medical treatment diligently until you feel better and your doctor releases you;
3. Do not give the insurance adjuster a recorded statement about your injuries or about the accident;
4. If you have an attorney handling your case, keep your attorney informed about your medical treatment, as you normally cannot finalize payment of your claim until you receive full medical treatment for your injuries;
5. If you are representing yourself, you should obtain all of your medical bills and records related to the accident and submit to the insurance company as soon as your are finished treating. These bills will be the basis for your claim. There is a two-year statute of limitations for filing claims in court for personal injury; thus, if your treatment will take in excess of two years, then you need to retain an attorney to file a lawsuit long before the deadline expires so you do not lose your claim.
Why is obtaining medical treatment immediately important to making a personal injury claim?
Obtaining medical treatment immediately upon being injured in a car accident is vital to your personal injury claim because it goes to showing causation. Automobile insurance companies that normally pay personal injury claims often view a gap or delay in treatment as interfering with causation. Although there are many reasons that you may have delayed medical treatment after your car accident, car insurance companies try to use delays or gaps in treatment to lower the value of your personal injury claim. The insurance companies’ argument is basically if you were so hurt, why didn’t you go to the doctor immediately or why didn’t you continue to treat consistently after you were injured.
Sure, your reasons (maybe you did not have health insurance or enough money to pay for treatment; maybe you did not feel pain until the day after the wreck; maybe you did not have transportation to go to the doctor) for not treating or for delaying treatment may be legitimate, but insurance companies are looking for ways to pay you as little as possible for your claim. Thus, it is vital that you obtain treatment as soon as possible and continue treatment until you are better or until your doctor releases you.
Does a delay in treatment prevent me from making a personal injury claim?
A delay or gap in treatment doesn’t kill your claim entirely. You may still overcome issues with gaps or delays in treatment that are explained legitimately, but such issues do weaken your overall claim.