One thing we advise all of our clients who are dealing with injuries from car accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, etc., is to see a doctor and follow all doctors’ orders for treatment. In addition to ensuring a proper recovery, receiving proper medical care provides the documentation to prove damages in a personal injury claim.
At the same time, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic might make anyone reluctant to visit a hospital emergency room, physicians’ office, or physical therapist. Infection numbers seem to fall then rise again. The Commonwealth of Virginia remains under emergency orders to stay home when possible and avoid gatherings with anyone outside our own households.
Hospitals, such as UVA Health in Charlottesville, remain open and have adopted COVID-19 protocols to ensure safety as they assist patients who have been injured and require treatment. Like UVA Health, other medical care providers are following recognized safety measures, and many are offering virtual doctors’ visits.
We at Kendall Law Firm urge you to take proper COVID-19 precautions and keep up with all of your medical appointments if you are dealing with injuries from an auto accident or other serious incident. Failing to keep follow-up appointments or follow a doctor’s orders could set back your recovery and hurt your chances of recovering compensation through an injury claim.
How Missing Doctor Appointments Works Against Your Injury Claim
To obtain compensation through a personal injury claim for harm sustained in an accident, you must prove that you have suffered damages. Typically, the primary damages in an accident claim are the cost of medical care, the pain and suffering endured because of your injuries and lost income from missed work due to your injuries.
After a car accident, you should seek medical care as soon as possible so you receive appropriate treatment and your injuries are documented in case you need to file a claim. Seek care promptly, even after a minor accident. There are some injuries, brain or head, back, and neck injuries, in particular, that can be serious though the symptoms may not be apparent.
You should notify your insurer of a car accident within about 72 hours of a crash.
As you continue to receive care, whether while hospitalized, as an outpatient, or while in rehab, your medical records will document the extent of your injuries. The accompanying bills will show your monetary costs.
If you miss appointments or fail to follow up with recommended physical therapy or other rehabilitation, the insurance company obligated to pay you damages will seize on this as evidence you were not hurt as badly as you claim. This may give them an excuse to refuse to pay all or part of your claim.
For example, if you begin to miss appointments six weeks into treatment after an auto accident, an insurance adjuster might cite the date of the first “gap” in treatment and say they’re not paying for anything afterward. If you resume treatment with your physicians later – because you do have serious injuries – any insurer would argue that you’ve injured yourself in another incident not connected to the current claim.
As your attorneys, we will push back aggressively against insurance company tactics to avoid financial responsibility. But letting avoidable treatment gaps occur as you pursue a personal injury claim could damage your case.
When Treatment is Delayed Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Because of the numerous coronavirus patients in 2020, there may be legitimate gaps in care provided for car accident injuries suffered just before or during the pandemic. As your attorneys, we would seek to document any necessary delays for insurers, such as with letters or affidavits from your health care providers.
In the meantime, a delay in treatment might stall progress in your injury claim. To ensure that we demand the maximum compensation, we usually wait until a client has achieved a full recovery or the best possible medical recovery before finalizing a personal injury claim.
If you were to have significant difficulty obtaining care, we could work to refer you to different providers, such as telemedicine/telehealth (virtual doctor’s visits), as appropriate. Kendall Law Firm has offices and community contacts in Charlottesville, Harrisburg, Staunton, Winchester, and Woodstock, Virginia, and beyond.
Stay Safe While Keeping Doctor’s Appointments
By now, you probably know the personal protocols for COVID safety, but it never hurts to have reminders and resources for more information.
According to the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency, all Virginians must continue to comply with the statewide face-covering requirement (i.e., masks).
Virginians are strongly encouraged to do the following:
- Continue working from home if possible
- Wash hands regularly
- Maintain six feet of physical distance when outside of home, and
- Get tested immediately if you have COVID-19 symptoms
The Main Steps for Preventing the Spread of the Coronavirus According to UVA Health
- Practice social distancing of at least six feet away
- Wear a face mask when around other people
- Keep hands clean and disinfect surfaces often
Check the Virginia Department of Health’s Vaccinate Virginia site to get information and pre-register for a coronavirus vaccination if you have not registered or received one already.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney
Not everything comes to a stop because of the coronavirus. If you’ve been in an auto accident, you need to obtain proper medical care, even during a COVID pandemic. At the Kendall Law Firm, we have helped thousands of Virginia car accident victims pursue claims, receive medical care, and move on with their lives. If you have questions about the insurance process or seeking compensation for serious injuries caused by others’ negligence, we’re just a phone call away.
Contact a Virginia car accident or personal injury lawyer at Kendall Law Firm now. Set up a free initial consultation about pursuing a car accident claim for the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive. Phone (866) 574-2704 or reach out online.