How long will you need to go to medical treatment for an injury you received in an accident caused by someone else's negligence?
Following an accident you have to go to treatment for as long as your doctor, chiropractor, or other medical provider tells you to, which will depend on the severity of your injuries.
Everybody heals at a different rate, and there are a million different ways you could be injured, so it's not possible to say how long your treatment will take.
You should follow their orders exactly, and not skip any appointments or fail to follow through on prescribed treatment, because that could jeopardize your odds of getting a fair settlement.
Injury and Medical Treatment
Let's say you're in a car accident when someone rear ends you after you stop suddenly to avoid something in the road. When the driver behind you impacts the back of your car, your head rapidly moves backward and then forward, causing some pain in your neck. You don't think you're injured badly. What do you do?
First of all, call the police to the scene. When they come, do not admit fault, and make sure you get a copy of the accident report. Even though you don't think you are seriously injured, you should still go to the emergency room to be evaluated. Some injuries to soft tissue get worse in the days and weeks after the accident. Failing to get treated immediately after the accident could cause you problems later on, so your medical treatment should start the day you get into an accident.
When you see a doctor, they may perform tests, make a diagnosis, prescribe medications and recommend a treatment plan. You should do what the doctor says, and keep documentation of everything. You'll need it later to get reimbursed from the insurance company.
After your initial doctor's visit for an injury such as whiplash, you will probably need to follow up with visits to a medical provider such as a chiropractor. You'll need to go to treatment until it's determined that you've reached maximum medical improvement.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) is when an injured person “reaches a state where his or her condition cannot be improved any further or when a treatment plateau in a person’s healing process is reached.”
Reaching MMI doesn't mean you're back to normal, but it does mean that all treatment options have been exhausted. At this point, a person's level of “permanent or partial impairment is determined.” Most people reach MMI in a matter of months after their accident.
You have to reach maximum medical improvement before your case can be settled. Otherwise, it wouldn't be known if you're going to have some level of permanent impairment or what your treatment will cost.
You have a responsibility to mitigate damages even though the accident wasn't your fault. That just means that you are supposed to take reasonable steps to get better and not incur unnecessary costs. If you fail to take reasonable actions to mitigate your damages, you won't be able to recover the cost of the damages you could have prevented.
For instance, let's say you go to the emergency room after an accident and the doctor tells you to see a chiropractor or physical therapist. If you don't do it and your condition worsens because of that, the insurance company could lessen your damages by the amount that you could have mitigated by doing what you were supposed to.
So it's important to follow the doctor's orders, not just to get better, but also so you are able to recover all the funds you should be able to recover.
Getting A Personal Injury Attorney
Dealing with the insurance company after an accident can be frustrating. They may try to offer you a pathetically small amount of money. You should consider retaining an attorney to represent you in your personal injury claim. They may be able to help you get more money than you could have on your own. And personal injury attorneys don't have to be paid up front. They're compensated from the funds they recover for you.
Again, if you've been injured in an accident, it's important to get medical treatment early and follow the doctor's orders. And don't give up on treatment! It could cause you problems later on.
Photo by Harlie Raethel on Unsplash