What To Do If I Don’t Think I’m Really Hurt in an Auto Accident?

Here’s an example of what can happen after an car accident:

It’s extremely common that people will go to a car accident attorney two to three months after an accident and say, “Listen, I was involved in this accident. Nothing hurt me the first day. The second day I started to get sore. The third day it was a little worse. The fourth day it was a little worse. Fifth day was worse. And that goes on for a couple of days after that.”

And they say it plateaued. And they figured if they just iced it or dealt with the pain it was starting to get better.

And maybe it did get a little better, and then it got a little worse, then it got a little better. And then a month or two into it, it just took this really bad turn for the worse.  It got unbearable where they can barely get out of bed. And they went to a doctor and the doctor said, “Yeah, you’ve got a herniated disk.”

Now that was maybe two to three months after the accident. And that presents a number of problems. First, it gives the insurance company or the defendant room to argue that something happened in between the accident and the time they went to the doctor and got this diagnosis of a herniated disk.

The person will say nothing’s happened since then, but the insurance company then will come back and say, “Where was all the treatment?”

And they’re going to operate under the assumption that because there was this giant lag in treatment, that they’re going to be able to convince the jury that it was not related to the accident.  And it’s much easier to convince a jury of your injuries and damages when it’s clear that there was early treatment.

So don’t delay seeing your doctor.  Often when people are injured they don’t want to make a Federal case out of it. So they’ll start telling people, “I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.” And they’ll try to suffer through any aches and pains they have in the first few days. But that really can come back to hurt you, and hurt your case.

We’re not saying someone should make anything up.., you definitely shouldn’t! But if you’re feeling pain right at the time of the accident, or the next few days after the accident, you should be forthright with your own insurance company and anyone else you might talk to about the accident and say, “Listen, I’m in pain.” You should go see a doctor and get it checked out. Because typically, in my experience, what happens is the pain increases in severity over the next few days instead of decreasing.

Also, it can look bad if you wait to go to a doctor until a later date. It may look like you’re trying to fabricate a case after thinking about it for a while … when all you were doing was just trying not to make a big deal out of it!

So I would say, don’t make a big deal out of things but don’t downplay them. Don’t just pretend like it’s going to go away because typically it doesn’t, it tends to get worse.

Going to the doctor early on is evidence that you have been getting this checked out, that it had been a concern, rather than just something that happened a couple of months later.

So when in doubt, it always behooves an injured person to go to a doctor. It shows that they were having these pains early on. It helps with evidence. If the case goes to trial later on, your attorney can show the jury that the injury was severe enough to go to a doctor. And there really might be something there that really needs to be addressed right away.

If you don’t, the insurance company could also come back later on and say, “Listen, you failed to mitigate your damages and this is now your fault. Or at least partially your fault, because you should’ve been going to the doctor earlier. Maybe you could’ve prevented this herniated disk through physical therapy or other modes of treatment.”