Gaps In Medical Treatment Could Wreak Havoc On Your Personal Injury Case in New Jersey
January 15, 2019 | By admin
If you have been injured in an accident, the best course of action you can take is to seek medical treatment for your injuries. Not only will seeking medical treatment help your injuries heal, but it will benefit you greatly if you decide to sue a liable party for your injuries. However, if you do not pursue medical treatment for your injuries or only keep medical appointments to treat your injuries on an infrequent basis, you may destroy any personal injury claim against the liable party.
Duty to Prove Actual Damage And Gaps In Treatment in New Brunswick, NJ
When you initiate a personal injury case to recover damages for your injuries, there are certain elements you must prove to win your case. One of these elements is that you suffered actual damages. Actual damages consist of actual bodily injuries you suffered as a result of an accident or any other emotional or pecuniary loss. If you are claiming that you were physically injured in an accident, seeking medical treatment, following the treatment plan, and regularly attending medical appointments is crucial in securing an adequate monetary award. One reason this is true is because medical appointments and procedures cost money. If you regularly attend your appointments and undergo the necessary procedures, you can prove to a jury or a claims adjuster that your case is at least worth the cost of your medical bills. However, if you do not attend all of the medical appointments recommended, obtaining an adequate verdict or settlement will be difficult to do because you only have incurred a portion of the medical bills necessary to fully treat your injuries. This could work against you as claims adjusters or defense counsel can use it as a way to undervalue your case.
Moreover, even if missing medical appointments or not undergoing necessary procedures in a timely fashion does not undervalue your case in the way described above, it is important to note that almost all plaintiffs who initiate lawsuits have a duty to mitigate their damages. Consequently, if you do not seek immediate treatment for your injuries or fail to stick to the treatment plan by not attending visits, it may give claims adjusters or defense counsel the ammunition they need to weaken your case. If this occurs, the compensation you will receive from this case will likely be significantly lower than if you follow your treatment plan.
When Gaps In Treatment Do Not Hurt Your Personal Injury Case
Even though it is generally bad for personal injury case plaintiffs to have gaps in their treatment history, there may be some legitimate reasons why plaintiffs have them. These legitimate reasons, as long as they are documented, should not hurt your case. Examples of legitimate reasons include falling ill to another disease or condition, a death in the family or of a close friend, a work obligation, or a scheduled vacation.
If you miss medical appointments for any of these reasons, it is important to call your doctor and explain why you must cancel or push back an appointment. This way the doctor can write in his notes and your medical record that you missed an appointment due to one of the above reasons. Additionally, you should also inform your attorney, who can then note the information in your case file and provide defense counsel or a claims adjuster with the same information. Furthermore, because being as thorough as possible generally helps your case, another way to explain legitimate gaps in treatment history is to keep a notebook of all of the medical treatment you have undergone since the accident, a log of your symptoms and pain, and a record of why you missed any appointments. This way you may be able to better recall your own medical treatment and the reasons why you missed or pushed back a scheduled appointment if questioned about it during your claims investigation or at trial.
Contact an Edison Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a motor vehicle accident or slip and fall in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party, or their insurance company, to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. represent clients in their personal injury lawsuits in Piscataway, Toms River, Middletown, New Brunswick, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 709-7992 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1862 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ 08820, as well as offices in Edison, Brick, Freehold, Point Pleasant Beach.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.