In our practice, we hear a familiar refrain, “I didn’t think I was seriously injured so I didn’t go to the hospital,” or “I felt better so I didn’t go back to my doctor.” If you were involved in an accident and your injuries were minor and not permanent, then this makes sense. But the problem with certain injuries is that they don’t always manifest into seriously debilitating conditions for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to come.
The best advice for anyone injured in an accident, be it a car accident, motorcycle accident, construction site accident, or a trip and fall accident is to seek medical attention immediately. Firstly, you need to make sure that you haven’t sustained an injury that could be immediately life threatening, such as a brain injury. You need to be examined and cleared by a medical professional. And, secondly, if you have sustained a serious or life altering injury that could show up later on, you are going to need medical documentation from the outset. If something serious is wrong with you and you wait too long to see a doctor, then the chances of a successful resolution of your personal injury case drops significantly.
That is especially true in a case where the injured party has suffered a soft tissue injury such as a herniated disc or torn meniscus. Aside from being caused by severe trauma, a disc herniation or torn meniscus are often times conditions caused by aging, and insurance companies will most assuredly attempt to prove that your disc herniations, bulges or torn meniscus are a natural result of just getting older. For that reason, judges and juries need to see consistent medical treatment records, comprehensive doctor treatment notes, and usually hear expert testimony. Remember, just because you got hurt does not necessarily mean you will be compensated. To a certain extent, you need to take charge of your own personal injury case.
Additionally, once you’ve seen a doctor and have been diagnosed with a serious or permanent injury, you need to continue to treat with that doctor as well as with other specialists he or she might recommend. That might include a neurologist, an orthopedist, a physiatrist, a physical therapist, an acupuncturist – it can be a long list. And, the financial and time commitment can be steep. But in order to receive appropriate compensation for your injury, damages, and loss of work, you will need to follow through. Your attorney may be knowledgeable, but he or she cannot work miracles. In order to win your case, medical proof is essential.