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Can Gaps in Medical Treatment Affect My Car Accident Claim?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, seeking medical attention is your first priority. Following your medical provider’s instructions can help you recover from your injury and help you get back to life as usual. It can also ensure you’re able to successfully file a claim for damages if the injury was a result of another person’s negligence.

All too often, though, a person forgets to fill a prescription or misses a physical therapy appointment. That small misstep could cost them dearly when they go to file a personal injury claim. Any “gaps” in treatment can be exploited by insurance companies and skillful lawyers. Read on to learn how these gaps can potentially affect your car accident claim.

What Defines a “Gap” and How to Avoid One

In terms of personal injury lawsuits, a “gap” refers to a period of time in which a party doesn’t receive medical treatment. Insurance company adjusters look closely at every claim and make a determination of its value, and they’re looking for any way they can to devalue it. A gap in medical treatment is just one piece of evidence they can use against you.

When assessing a personal injury claim, adjusters will consider either of these two scenarios as a “gap” in medical treatment:

  • The time period between the injury and your first doctor visit
  • Any time period between your first doctor visit and later follow-ups

Adjusters argue that any gap is evidence that a person’s injury is less severe than they claim, or that they don’t exist at all. That’s why it’s so important to see a doctor immediately after a car accident—even if the accident was minor or you feel no symptoms. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more evidence adjusters can put forward that you weren’t truly experiencing any physical problems—otherwise, you would have visited the hospital right away.

You also must follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan in its entirety. Even if you saw a doctor immediately after your accident, you need to attend follow-up appointments to prove the injury is as severe as you claim it is.

Legitimate Reasons for a Gap

Sometimes, situations beyond a person’s control can cause a gap in a victim’s healthcare timeline. After all, being injured doesn’t bring life to a complete halt. Some legitimate reasons for a gap include:

  • Family concerns, like travel, weddings, funerals, graduations
  • Moving or changing jobs
  • Transportation issues
  • Unrelated illnesses

Remember that insurance adjusters can manipulate facts about your life outside of your doctor’s appointments to devalue your claim, so keep track of all relevant documentation that can explain gaps in your healthcare timeline.

The Sooner You Seek Medical Treatment After a Car Accident, the Better

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, the best way to support a personal injury claim is by visiting your healthcare provider immediately following the incident and by following the proposed treatment plan to the letter. Ready to start your journey to recovery after a collision? The medical team at Impact Medical Group of Clearwater provides a wide range of treatments to relieve pain, restore mobility, and help you heal after an accident. Call us today at (727) 292-0200 to schedule your free consultation.