Will a Gap in Medical Treatment Affect My Philadelphia Personal Injury Claim?
Imagine yourself in this scenario: You recently suffered a painful and inconvenient injury, through no fault of your own, and now face immense medical bills and a loss of income from being unable to work. You decide to file a personal injury claim to recover money you have lost, and cover expenses incurred. Just when you think your payday has arrived, you shockingly discover that your claim was reduced or denied due to a gap in your medical treatment.
There are circumstances where a seemingly normal gap in your medical treatment can negatively affect your personal injury claim. Insurance adjusters can view delays in treatment as evidence that your injury is not as severe as you claim, which can decrease the money you are awarded. However, it is possible to have a successful personal injury claim even with a gap in treatment. Individual circumstances matter and it is crucial that you have professional advice to evaluate your case and recommend courses of action.
Call our firm today at (215) 709-6940 for a free case review on your personal injury claim. The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm are ready to take your call.
What is a Gap in Treatment and How Can it Hurt My Philadelphia Injury Claim?
A gap in treatment is simply a delay between an injury and the treatment for that injury. For instance, if you suffer an injury in a car accident on a Monday, but do not visit the emergency room until two weeks later, this would be seen as a gap in medical treatment. Alternately, a lengthy delay between medical appointments to treat an injury could also be viewed as a gap in treatment. If you were required to attend weekly physical therapy sessions to treat your car accident injury, but you skip two weekly session, this could also be considered a gap in treatment.
You may be thinking that there are countless legitimate reasons to wait to see a doctor or to delay an appointment, and there certainly are. However, an insurance adjuster’s job is to save the most money possible for the insurance company. They will look for ways to cut down on your claim and assume the worst where there is a record of delayed treatment.
Adjusters commonly use several arguments to challenge gaps in medical treatment. One argument is that the event you claim caused an injury was not actually the cause of that injury. In the example of a car accident that occurred on a Monday but was treated at the emergency room two weeks later, the adjuster will argue that some other event may have occurred after the car accident that was the actual cause of the injury. This can be used as grounds for denial of the claim or justification for a lower settlement amount. Adjusters will also use gaps in treatment to argue that the injury is not as severe or as substantial as you are claiming, thus creating a basis for reducing the final claim payment. Fortunately, Philadelphia personal injury attorneys develop strong rebuttals to arguments such as these.
Defending Gaps in Medical Treatment in a Philadelphia Personal Injury Claim
Medical treatment gaps are not the kiss of death to personal injury claims. Accidents can result in a wide variety of injuries, and some of those injuries are not visible or easily detected. It is common for victims to think that their injuries are minor and will heal without treatment only to discover that the pain does not go away and gets worse with time. Some delays and gaps in treatment are wholly justified, and our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys can help justify them in court.
Additionally, when multiple injuries occur at the same time, one injury can obscure another. In the case of a car accident, a severe laceration with significant blood loss will be highly visible and a priority for immediate treatment, while unseen injuries that become more apparent with time might be overlooked. Some injuries, by nature, have symptoms that emerge with time and may not be diagnosable immediately after the accident.
Determining whether a gap in medical treatment is reasonable is highly fact specific. As such, each case is different and requires strategies tailored to their specific circumstances. However, there are some basic actions that a personal injury claimant can take to protect themselves in all cases.
Getting Medical Care Without Gaps in Treatment
The most important thing to do after being injured is to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. Even if you do not believe your injuries are severe, it is important to be evaluated by a professional to ensure injuries are identified and treated. The medical professional can create a clear record of your injuries that will support your personal injury claim.
If you cannot seek treatment immediately, speak to your medical provider and request that all details are documented. While there are defenses to gaps in treatment, these defenses are unique to each situation and must be proven with documentation. Whether your symptoms became worse over time or were not initially present, it is important to discuss this with your provider so they can explain and document the delay in treatment or diagnosis. If the gap in treatment becomes an issue when you are seeking a personal injury claim, you will have a medical provider to testify on your behalf and medical documentation to serve as evidence for your defense.
Finally, it is very important to seek out the counsel of our experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorneys. Not only can a skilled attorney develop defenses to medical treatment gaps that have already occurred, they can also assist you with proactively planning your treatment to avoid issues while addressing expected needs. Continuing medical treatment in response to an injury can be affected by physical pain, financial concerns, and even scheduling issues. An attorneys can provide advice on how to best plan for and respond to causes of medical treatment gaps.
Call Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Today
For a free case review, contact the Allentown personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm. Our phone number is (215) 709-6940.