How Gaps in Medical Treatment Affect Personal Injury Claims

If you suffer an injury in an accident in Nevada and plan on filing a personal injury claim, it is imperative not to wait for medical treatment. Delays or gaps in your medical care can be used against you by an insurance company to diminish your claim payout or even deny liability. If your case already involves medical treatment gaps, a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas can help you fight for fair compensation.

What Is a Gap in Medical Treatment?

A gap in medical treatment means that the timeline of your personal injury claim will show a period of time between the date of the accident and the date that you received medical care for injuries you say are connected to the accident. It can also refer to a substantial gap between your first doctor’s appointment and any follow-up care or treatments.

What Does a Gap in Medical Treatment Look Like to an Insurance Company?

Gaps in medical treatment can give an insurance company or the defendant in your case – meaning the person or party you are attempting to hold responsible for your injuries – a few different defenses to liability. 

Failure to Mitigate Damages

The first is arguing that you failed to “mitigate your damages.” It is the injured party’s responsibility to mitigate, or minimize, the extent of his or her injuries as much as possible through proper medical treatment. A gap in medical care could provide evidence that you failed to mitigate your damages, which could reduce the amount of compensation available in your claim. 

The insurance company may argue that you could have reduced the severity and impact of your injuries, including medical expenses and pain and suffering, had you chosen to seek medical care sooner. Your failure to do so can potentially provide a defense against full liability for your losses and bills.

The Medical Treatment Was Unnecessary

A gap in medical care could also look like the care you did eventually receive was superfluous or unnecessary. The insurance company may look at it as though you must not have needed urgent medical care since you waited. It may argue that you only received treatment later, after realizing it would be necessary to file a claim for damages. This could enable the insurance company to argue that your injuries are not as serious as you are claiming.

The Injuries Were Caused by Something Other Than the Accident

Another defense you could give an insurance company by delaying medical care is arguing that your injuries were not caused by the accident in question. A gap between the date of the accident and your first doctor’s appointment could give the insurer cause to argue that anything could have happened in this time period; therefore, your injuries may have been caused by another event and not the one being claimed.

How to Handle a Personal Injury Claim With a Gap in Medical Treatment

The best thing you can do to protect your right to recover financial compensation for an accident in Nevada is to see a doctor for medical treatment right away. Even if you initially feel fine, prompt medical care could detect a hidden or delayed injury. It can also make the insurance process easier if you decide to file a claim.

If your case involves a gap in medical treatment, you may need to hire an attorney to help you negotiate for a fair settlement. Your lawyer can help you document your injuries and medical care as much as possible, such as using an injury journal to help demonstrate the severity of your injuries. Your lawyer may also be able to establish reasons for treatment delays, such as scheduling conflicts with the doctor or delayed injury discovery.

For more information about a personal injury claim with a gap in medical treatment, contact Koch & Brim, LLP for a free consultation.