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By Jarome Gautreaux
Owner/Partner

If you are involved in an accident, denying medical care immediately following the incident is not uncommon. The shock and confusion post-accident can lead to adrenaline levels that disguise the pain, causing the individual to believe they are uninjured mistakenly. There is also the factor of perceived financial strain from medical bills or a simple lack of understanding of the severity of their condition.

However, in the aftermath of an accident, the decision to deny medical care at the scene can have significant implications for your health and any subsequent personal injury claim you may wish to pursue. This scenario deserves careful consideration, particularly regarding legal and medical consequences.

Challenges You Face If You Deny Medical Care

The decision to deny medical care can complicate a personal injury claim for several reasons. If you deny medical attention at the scene, there might not be any immediate documentation of your injuries. This could make it harder to prove that your injuries were a result of the accident. You must establish a medical link between the accident and any injuries sustained. Insurance companies and opposing legal parties often scrutinize the gap between an accident and the time of seeking medical treatment. They may view a delay between the accident and seeking medical treatment as an indication that the injuries were not severe or unrelated to the accident. This is often referred to as a “gap in treatment.”

In addition, if you have pre-existing conditions, denying immediate medical attention might allow an insurance company to argue that your current injuries were not caused by the accident. Furthermore, denying immediate medical care might lead to accusations of failing to mitigate damages. In personal injury law, the injured party must take reasonable steps to minimize the effects and costs of their injuries. Failure to seek timely medical evaluation can be seen as a breach of this duty, potentially reducing the amount of compensation that can be claimed.

Legal Recourse You Still Have Even If You Deny Medical Care 

Despite these challenges, denying immediate medical care does not inherently bar you from pursuing a personal injury claim. If injuries appear later or become more severe than initially realized, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is vital. Once medical care is sought, it is essential to follow through with all prescribed treatments and document all medical visits and prescribed treatments, as well as diagnoses that occur after the fact.

Compiling a comprehensive set of evidence becomes even more critical when building a personal injury claim after refusing immediate medical help. Even if you refuse medical treatment at the scene, it is essential to report the accident to the police and obtain a copy of the accident report. This can serve as documentation that the accident occurred. You also want to provide documentation by gathering witness statements from the accident scene and securing any available video footage.

 You should also immediately notify your insurance company about the accident, even if you initially refused medical attention. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney in Georgia can also play a pivotal role. A skilled attorney can help navigate the complexities of your case, including overcoming skepticism from insurers or opposing legal teams regarding the initial refusal of medical treatment. They can argue on your behalf regarding the reasons for the delayed medical treatment and work to establish a clear link between the accident and your injuries.

Conclusion

 While refusing medical care at the scene of an accident can present obstacles to a personal injury claim, it does not make such a claim impossible. It is, however, essential to act prudently post-accident: monitor your health closely, seek medical attention if symptoms develop, and document every aspect of your injuries and treatment. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in mitigating the initial refusal of care, helping to establish the necessary connection between the accident and subsequent injuries, thereby supporting your compensation claim. Each personal injury case is unique, and the specific circumstances will significantly influence the approach and potential outcome. Gautreaux Law has dedicated attorneys who can advocate for you and help you receive the compensation you deserve, even if you did not seek medical help immediately during your accident.

About the Author
Jarome Gautreaux is a personal injury trial lawyer. He represents people who have been seriously injured, as well as the families of people killed because of carelessness or negligence. For over 20 years, he has successfully recovered more than 100 million dollars in a variety of Macon personal injury cases. Jarome’s reputation for client focus and case success has led to other lawyers requesting his assistance with complex personal injury litigation. What drives Jarome every day is his strong belief that the amount of money someone has should not dictate the justice they receive. It is for this reason that he has never worked for corporations, insurance companies, or other interest groups. Instead, he thrives on helping the people who need it most- people who have suffered at the hands of others and deserve compensation.