This is the next post in our series on the rights of Minnesota accident victims. Our last article provided an overview of topics that this series addresses and stressed the need to contact an attorney if you or a loved one have been injured. It is important to understand that contacting counsel promptly helps ensure your rights remain protected as your case moves through the legal system. In this article we will discuss another important topic – the need to seek medical care immediately after an accident.* Failing to do so can harm your chances of recovering damages. If you require assistance, contact our office to speak with a Rochester personal injury lawyer.
Minnesota injury victims can harm their case by not immediately seeking medical care
It is important to immediately go to a doctor after having been involved in an accident. This is true even if you do not believe you are seriously injured. If you are injured but do not go to the hospital immediately, defense lawyers will argue that the accident was not the cause of your injuries. They will more often than not argue that some other harmful event, such as a fall, likely occurred between the time of your accident and when you went to the hospital. If you try to “shake it off” and don’t seek care for several days after your accident, but eventually have to seek care for back pain, you can count on a lawyer arguing that you harmed your back performing other activities such as housework or exercise. If defense lawyers are successful in convincing a jury that your accident was not the cause of your injuries, you will be denied compensation.
Waiting to seek medical care also prolongs the time it takes before you can recover damages. As an example, most treating physicians will not state that an injured person has attained his or her maximum medical improvement until one year after she was hurt or one year after the last surgery, whichever occurs later in time. Until you reach “maximum medical improvement” you are not in a position to settle your claim.
As we will discuss later in this series, your personal injury lawyer will attempt to settle the matter directly with the insurance carriers without having to file a lawsuit. Settling a case saves a victim both time and money. A long delay in seeking medical care, moreover, can automatically flag a claim as fraudulent, making a claim very difficult to settle. At the very least, it will make an insurer downgrade the settlement value of the claim. This is another reason Minnesota injury victims should seek immediate medical care after an accident.
Our personal injury attorneys work closely with medical providers in Rochester, Owatonna, and elsewhere
Our Rochester personal injury attorneys work closely with your medical providers. We will have you sign the necessary releases so we can receive your records directly from your provider. This allows us to move your case through the claims process faster. This, in turn, could help you put the situation behind you more quickly. In the event you have a physician or physicians, as is becoming increasingly common, who won’t provide a medical opinion as to the permanency of your injury or even whether the accident caused it, we can direct you to physicians who are willing to follow their ethical obligations and will provide the required opinions. Our lawyers have recovered more than $125 million dollars on behalf of accident and other victims and we are ready to assist you.
We also serve the following southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”