There is no definitive answer as to how long is too long to seek medical treatment after an auto accident. However, the first and the most important thing is that no matter what you think about your condition, after an accident, you should always have it checked out either in the emergency room or as soon as possible with your own family physician. You must verify that you did not sustain or suffer any injuries as a result of this accident. There are many cases where people develop symptoms 30 to 90 days after an accident. If they didn’t get that initial consultation with the doctor and developed symptoms later, then it is going to be much more difficult to build a case.
For example, if you developed symptoms 90 days after the accident, it will be more difficult to prove those symptoms are causally related to the accident itself. It becomes a question of causation when there is a delay in medical treatment. However, if you go to a doctor right after an accident and are examined and you relay to the physician what occurred and any pain or injuries are all documented appropriately, then if something comes up 90 days later, you are in a much better position to prove the causal relationship.
Seeking medical treatment at the right time is really just common sense. It’s not entirely based upon anything scientific, but it’s a simple principle: “If you are injured or hurting, you will go to the doctor and get medical treatment. If you are not hurting, not injured, you don’t go to the doctor.”
The assumption or presumption that people make when they are sitting on the jury looking at these cases is the same analysis that the insurance company performs. If you went to the doctor after the accident but later stopped making appointments, you must be better. When you have gaps in medical care, it tells the jury and the insurance company adjusters that your problem is not that serious. It shows that your problem isn’t severe enough for you to continue see a doctor on a regular basis so you must be okay and the problems have gone away.
This isn’t necessarily true in a lot of situations. There are a lot of different reasons why people miss doctor’s appointments. However, the more gaps in care and failure to follow the physician’s treatment plan, the more problems you create in your case. Also, it is less likely that the insurance company is going to pay you the full value of your claim if you have gaps in your care. They are going to believe that your injury was not that serious because you didn’t follow the medical professional’s advice. Everyone knows that if you are hurt, you go to the doctor and if you aren’t, you don’t. Don’t let the insurance company get away with paying you less than the value of your case. Attend all doctors appointments and don’t let very much time occur between regular checkups on your injury.