Can You File a Car Accident Case Without Seeing a Doctor?

After a car accident, your top priority should be seeking medical attention for any possible injuries sustained. However, some people may skip seeing a doctor to avoid medical bills or believe they weren’t seriously injured. Can you file an injury claim without getting medical treatment?

While you are legally entitled to make a claim without seeing a doctor, pursuing compensation becomes exponentially more challenging. A New York car accident lawyer may be able to help.

There Will Be Challenges to Your Car Accident Claim When You don’t See a Doctor

Here is an explanation of the potential challenges:

Establishing Causation

Without a doctor conducting an examination and documenting your injuries soon after the accident, it becomes very difficult to conclusively prove the crash directly caused the claimed injuries.

Insurance companies will argue the injuries could be due to prior medical conditions or other causes unrelated to the accident. A prompt medical evaluation rules out other potential causes.

Quantifying Pain and Suffering

Judges and juries look at the duration and necessity of medical treatment when determining appropriate compensation for pain and suffering. A lack of any treatment history will make it very hard to quantify and substantiate ongoing pain, suggesting it may not have been that severe. Extended treatment substantiates a longer recovery and more pain.

Meeting No-Fault Thresholds

In no-fault insurance states like New York, you typically need to meet a certain dollar threshold for medical costs before you can make a liability claim to recover additional damages. Without treatment records and bills, proving your costs exceed the no-fault threshold is virtually impossible to open up a liability claim.

Evaluating Impairment

Doctors will assign an impairment rating once an injury has reached maximum medical improvement. These impairment ratings are key to calculating potential disability awards. Without ever seeing a doctor, there will be no ratings that juries can rely on to determine disability compensation.

Insurer Skepticism

Insurers will be highly doubtful of any claimed injuries without corresponding medical records to back them up. This often leads to denials or unreasonably low settlement offers. Documented injuries are harder to refute.

Lost Wage Claims

Doctors will determine timelines for how long accident-related disabilities prevent someone from working. These medical opinions are crucial to supporting lost income demands. Without a doctor’s disability duration assessment, lost earnings claims lack credibility.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me If I Was in a Car Accident and did Not See the Doctor Right Away?

Here are some things a lawyer can do to help if you did not see a doctor right away after a car accident:

  • Review the circumstances: A lawyer can look at the specifics of the accident, injuries, and timeline to assess the viability of a claim without prompt medical treatment. They may determine if exceptions or explanations could still make the case workable.
  • Get an exam now: The lawyer may advise you to get examined by a doctor as soon as possible, even if delayed, to get medical documentation started. This at least establishes current issues from the accident.
  • Gather evidence: Your attorney can gather police reports, photos, witness statements, and other evidence to help prove liability and injury circumstances.
  • Send demand letter: With what evidence is available, the lawyer can draft a demand letter to the insurance company requesting they settle in the interest of fairness and to avoid litigation.
  • Negotiate settlement: If there is some liability evidence, the lawyer may still be able to negotiate a settlement with the insurer, especially if injuries and suffering are minor.
  • File suit strategically: Waiting to file litigation closer to the statute of limitations expiry could put pressure on the insurer to settle rather than risk court.
  • Argue lateness was reasonable: The lawyer may be able to make valid arguments for why seeing a doctor was reasonably delayed under the circumstances.
  • Consider alternative dispute resolution: Mediation or arbitration may be viable alternatives to court litigation in some cases with late medical treatment.

While not ideal, an experienced personal injury attorney can strategically assess options and still strive for reasonable compensatory damages for you, even without prompt medical documentation. Let them review your situation if you find yourself in this position.

What If I didn’t Know I Was Injured After a Collision?

If you did not feel hurt or did not get checked out right away, you may still have choices. There is still time to go to the doctor if it has only been a few days or weeks since the accident.

If you did not go to the hospital because your injuries did not warrant it, you may still be able to file an insurance claim. With the help of a personal injury attorney from our firm, you should be able to put together a case like this and pursue monetary compensation for your losses.

Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm to Learn More About Filing a Car Accident Claim

You’ll lack evidence to substantiate damages without medical records and treatment history documenting accident-related injuries. Insurance adjusters will argue injuries aren’t attributable to the crash or are exaggerated.

Additionally, certain injury types, like soft tissue damage or traumatic brain injuries, aren’t always immediately apparent. An evaluation creates a record of diagnoses. Ultimately, not getting medical treatment severely weakens your ability to recover fair compensation for your losses.

Consulting a New York personal injury attorney can help determine if a claim without medical documentation may still have potential. Contact us today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

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