Why Is Treatment an Essential Part of a Personal Injury Claim?March 27, 2018
In the aftermath of an accident that causes physical injuries, medical care can be important to preventing further health complications and, in serious cases, saving lives. What accident victims may not realize, however, is that seeking medical treatment is not only critical to physically healing. It can also be vital to the strength and success of a future claim and, consequently, victims’ financial recoveries.
Uncovering more about this issue, the following shares some important facts about the role of medical treatments in personal injury claims. While this information shares essential insights for anyone hurt by negligence, we urge you to contact a Houston personal injury attorney at the Amaro Law Firm whenever you need answers and legal advice specific to your circumstances and potential claim.
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Background on Personal Injury Cases: 4 Essential Elements for a Claim
To understand how medical treatment can impact a personal injury case, it’s first crucial to be aware that the following four elements must be present for a claim to exist:
- A duty of care – This means that one party was legally obligated to take certain precautions in order to protect the safety of another party.
- Breach of the duty of care – This occurs when one party fails to live up to the duty of care that a reasonable person (in the same situation) would have exercised. Effectively, this is the “negligence” aspect of a personal injury case.
- Causation – This aspect means that the breach of duty was directly responsible for the injuries, harm and/or damages sustained by the victim(s).
- Damages – This element refers to the economic and noneconomic losses the victim(s) suffered as a result of the breach of duty and the resulting accident and injuries.
Medical treatment falls into the last category, as it will be essential to proving the extent of the injuries and losses suffered as a result of negligence.
The Facts about Medical Treatments & Personal Injury Claims: What Victims MUST Know
When it comes to medical treatment and personal injury cases, here are some of the most important facts for victims to know:
- Delaying medical attention can have negative impacts on a claim – Though not every incident may require emergency medical care, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible after an accident – even if victims do not feel that badly injured. Waiting weeks or longer before seeking medical attention can give rise to arguments that the injuries were not that severe or that they may have been caused by an incident that occurred after the accident in question. Insurance companies commonly leverage these arguments against accident victims who have put off seeing a doctor following an accident.
- The type of medical professional matters – Generally, the diagnoses, treatments and prognoses from professionals with medical degrees (M.D.s) are given more weight than those from non-M.D.s (like alternative medicine practitioners, for instance). This means that it’s generally in accident victims’ best interests to seek attention from an M.D. as soon as possible after an accident.
- So does the duration of medical treatment – The course of treatment prescribed is commonly used to evaluate the severity of victims’ injuries, as well as the associated pain and suffering. Since more serious injuries typically require more extensive treatments, cases associated with severe injuries tend to be associated with greater damages – to cover the cost of future medical treatments, as well as the related pain and suffering victims have endured.
- Treatment gaps can have negative impacts – Failing to following through the recommended treatments can be used against accident victims to try to minimize their injuries. Similar to the first point above, insurers may leverage treatment gaps to allege that the injuries must not have been that severe if the victims can miss or put off treatments. This may end up meaning reduced recoveries for those who have skipped or delayed a course of treatment.
- Any documents related to medical treatments can be important to a claim – Hospital and doctors’ bills, diagnostic test results, treatment plans and any other document related to the medical care received after an accident can all be important pieces of evidence for a future claim. These documents help clarify the extent of the injuries, all treatments received and the necessary future treatments; as such, they can be essential to quantifying the financial losses accident victims have suffered.
Set Your Claim & Recovery Up for Success: Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been harmed by another’s negligent actions, contact a Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm for experienced help pursuing compensation and justice.
Call (713) 352-7975, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for a FREE consultation and essential legal advice regarding your potential claim. During your FREE consultation, we will explain your legal options, address your concerns and point out how to move forward. We offer free virtual and mobile consultations to those who are unable to visit our office.
Tireless, strategic and experienced, our lawyers are ready to advocate your rights and help you successfully navigate the claim and recovery process. Testimonials from our former clients, as well as our 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook, speak to our record of exceptional service and success in personal injury cases.