Article Updated: March 3, 2022

Didn’t Go To A Doctor After A Car Accident

Not Seeing a Doctor After an AccidentAfter a car accident you may not always feel pain or symptoms of your injuries.

Because of this, you may have decided not to see a doctor right away. This can cause your settlement value in court to be diminished or flat out denied.

If you didn’t go to the doctor after a car accident but are now feeling symptoms that you believe are related to your accident, you will want to read below to see what your chances are of having a fair settlement, along with:

♦   How not going to the doctor will affect your case

   What you can do to strengthen your case

♦   Injuries that do not always have symptoms present right away

♦  How counsel can help ensure the highest settlement for your case

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Not All Injuries Are Felt Right After An Accident

If you didn’t t go to a doctor after a car accident it might have been because you felt no symptoms and thought that you were fine.

Often, injuries do not show up right away after an accident because of the adrenaline you feel in the moment or because some injuries like fractures or sprains take time to develop.

In a car accident, there are many thoughts going through your head and the overwhelming combination of the situation can blind you to injuries that you have.

While some injuries, mainly those that cause broken skin like lacerations, show immediate signs of injury, other injuries will need medical attention and time to diagnose.

Neck and back pain, shoulder injuries, head injuries and many other conditions that are common in a car accident, can take days or sometimes even weeks to fully manifest themselves.

Even more dangerous, some injuries are internal and do not present any symptoms despite being potentially life threatening.

Just because you did not feel immediate pain, it does not mean that your injury is not serious or not present.

I Didn’t Go To the Doctor After A Car Accident

In many cases of accidents, people choose not to go to the doctor right away. If you didn’t go to the doctor after your car accident it could have been seen as the best choice for you in the moment.

Some of the reasons that people choose not to go to the doctor right after an accident are:

♦   They felt no pain at all initially in the accident because the injury had delayed symptoms

♦   The stress of the moment causes adrenaline to mask pain that you should otherwise be feeling

♦   Pain was felt, but it felt trivial and negligible leaving you to think that it could be taken care of at home without medical care

These are some of the common reasons that a person may choose not to go to the doctor right after their injury. There is no cookie cutter formula for how to react to a car accident. What works for another case may not work for yours.

Generally speaking, it is best to seek out medical care as soon as possible after your accident. However, just because you did not go right away, this does not mean it is too late for you to go to the doctor and seek out medical care now.

At any point after your accident, should you start to feel any symptoms that cause you concern, it is best to seek out treatment now. It is better to be late with getting treatment, versus failing to get treatment at all.

Will My Settlement Be Lower Because I Waited To See a Doctor?

Just because you didn’t go to a doctor after a car accident, it does not mean that you are no longer going to be eligible for a settlement.

While waiting to go to a doctor can reduce your settlement amount and create an uphill battle for you, there is no reason that you should not still be able to get a settlement if you are able to focus on other evidentiary variables that work in your favor.

The kind of injury you had, at what point you did finally get medical treatment, the presence of evidence of your injury on imaging tests and other factors can all help to offset the fact that you did not seek out immediate medical care.

While it is possible that your settlement may be lower, it is just as possible that your settlement will remain in the average range for your injury type if you are able to prove your injury value and pain and suffering throughout the totality of your case.

This however does require a careful balance and argument in court on your behalf regarding your specific injury claim and the factors that can help increase the settlement value for that injury type.

Delayed Doctors Visit Injury Q&A

How Long Do You Have To Go To A Doctor After A Car Accident?

There is no specific stature of limitations on how long you have to go to a doctor after a car accident, but the longer you wait to see a medical professional, the more it will come across as if your injury was not a serious one.

Because of this, it is always better to see a doctor within a timely manner after your initial accident to seek out medical advice and treatment.  Same day visit is the best decision, even if that means going to the ER.

Should I See A Doctor After a Car Accident Even if I’m Not Hurt?

Yes, you should see a doctor after a car accident even if you do not feel hurt. This is because many injuries take time to be fully felt and while you may be ok on the outside, on the inside you may be dealing with serious injuries that need quick medical attention.

Do I Have A Case If I Didn’t Visit The Doctor After My Car Accident?

You do still have a case even if you did not visit a doctor right after your car accident. This may be a harder case to prove, which will mean needing competent and experienced counsel to explain why you did not seek out medical care right away, but this does not need to mean you will be denied a settlement.

My injuries didn’t show up right away so I didn’t go to the doctor, will this negatively affect my case?

Yes, it can potentially negatively affect your case if you chose to not go to the doctor after your accident.  However, it is known that some injuries typically take time to present themselves and for this reason, it can be countered that you did not go to the doctor initially because you felt no pain and only after a few days did you realize how hurt you were.

That argument alone, however, will not win the day.  More complex strategies will need to be utilized to counter the insurance company’s position and ensure the truth is heard and understood about your injuries and delayed treatment.

Will my injury get worse if I did not go to the doctor right after my injury?

It is always very possible that your injuries will get worse if you do not go to the doctor right after your injury was sustained because you may aggravate your injury be placing pressure on them. This lack of care can agitate your injury and make your recovery outlook and period longer and harder in the long run.

There is also the issue of mitigation of damages, which means you must take steps to prevent yourself from getting more hurt.  Delayed treatment could be interpreted as your failure to mitigate damages, and reduce your settlement payout.  Thus, if you delayed treatment, you should talk to a lawyer ASAP.

IAG‘s Los Angeles Lawyers Can Help if
You Received Delayed Treatment from a Car Accident

We are based in Los Angeles, but even outside of Los Angeles our lawyers can help you.  We offer a FREE 30 minute consultation so you have nothing to lose and something to gain.

Don’t let delayed accident treatment prevent you from getting a fair outcome.   Call, email, or message us using the contact form below, 24/7, to get the outcome you deserve.

IAG Los Angeles Injury Lawyers

Blanchard, E. B., Hickling, E. J., Devineni, T., Veazey, C. H., Galovski, T. E., Mundy, E., … & Buckley, T. C. (2003). A controlled evaluation of cognitive behaviorial therapy for posttraumatic stress in motor vehicle accident survivorsBehaviour research and therapy41(1), 79-96.

Auer, R. N., Krcek, J., & Butt, J. C. (1994). Delayed symptoms and death after minor head trauma with occult vertebral artery injury. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry57(4), 500-502.

O’Shaughnessy, J., Grenier, J. M., & Stern, P. J. (2014). A delayed diagnosis of bilateral facet dislocation of the cervical spine: a case reportThe Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association58(1), 45.

Zender, J. F. (2020). Recovering from Your Car Accident: The Complete Guide to Reclaiming Your Life. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

About the Author

Article Author:  This law article was written by attorney Ray Benyamin, Esquire.  Mr. Benyamin received his Juris Doctor degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and his license to practice law from the State Bar of California.  His law license number is 277263.  He has been practicing law for 10 years.  Mr. Benyamin is a registered member of the following legal organizations: Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), the State Bar of California, the American Bar Association (ABA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ).  Mr. Benyamin has personally helped his clients recover over $10,000,000 dollars in vehicle accident insurance claims in the State of California.

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