How Refusing Medical Treatment Impacts Your Car Accident Claim
Refusing or delaying medical treatment after a car accident can have serious consequences. It can keep you from promptly discovering injuries, making treating them harder. It can also weaken your case if you pursue an injury claim.
At SiebenCarey, we urge all accident victims to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In this article, we’re going to look at a few reasons why.
Can You Refuse Medical Treatment?
First things first: are you allowed to refuse medical treatment?
Yes. Under Minnesota state law, you have the right to refuse medical treatment. Specifically, the law states that:
“…individuals have a fundamental right to refuse medical treatment, testing, physical or mental examination, vaccination, participation in experimental procedures and protocols, collection of specimens, and preventive treatment programs.”
The only exception is during a “national security emergency or peacetime emergency” based upon a contagious disease.
Why Someone Might Refuse Medical Treatment
There are a few possible reasons why someone might refuse medical treatment after a car accident.
The most common is that they don’t feel that they need treatment. There may be no clear evidence of injury—or at least not an injury severe enough to warrant medical attention. From this perspective, a trip to the doctor would only be a waste of time and money.
The problem with this reasoning is that not all injuries are immediately apparent. Some injuries have delayed symptoms that only appear hours or days later. These injuries can include:
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury
- Psychological trauma
Each of these injuries can be life-changing or even fatal if left untreated. You can catch them by seeking immediate medical attention before they worsen.
Even if your injury doesn’t involve delayed symptoms, the adrenaline and shock you feel after an accident may mask the pain, causing you to underestimate the damage.
Other accident victims might avoid medical treatment due to a fear of hospitals or doctors. Some people would rather suffer the effects of an injury than face that fear and seek help. Once again, this could lead to worsening symptoms and more incredible difficulty treating the problem later on.
It’s always better to see a doctor upfront than to put it off and undergo more rigorous treatment later.
Will Refusing Medical Treatment Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
We’ve already seen why seeking medical treatment is essential for protecting your health. But what about your financial well-being and long-term recovery? Does refusing treatment make it harder to receive compensation for an injury?
In most cases, the answer is yes.
When you file a personal injury claim, the insurance company has a strong incentive to devalue or even deny your request for compensation. One common tactic is claiming that you weren’t injured at all—or at least, not that bad.
By refusing medical treatment, you’re making it easier for them to make that case. They can say that because you didn’t seek medical attention, your injuries must not be bad. If you don’t have a doctor’s professional opinion, you might have to settle for a lowball settlement offer.
On the other hand, if you visit a doctor immediately after the accident, you are more likely to have a timely paper trail to support your claim. This will help your attorney strengthen your case and win you the full amount of compensation you deserve.
What to Do If You Already Refused Treatment
If you were already in an accident and refused treatment, don’t panic. There’s probably still time to address this situation.
The best thing to do is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This will reduce damage to your case by previously refusing medical treatment. You should also contact an auto accident attorney to help you prepare a strong compensation claim.
Get Help from a Minnesota Car Accident Attorney Today
If you are injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation—and we can help you get it. Our team of experienced auto accident attorneys has spent decades helping injury victims get the financial support they need. Now, we’re ready to help you, too.
- Just contact us, and we can:
- Explain your rights to you
- Answer all your questions
- Investigate the details of your accident
- Build a solid case on your behalf
- Help you recover every dollar of compensation you deserve
Best of all, we work on a contingency fee basis, so you won’t owe us a dime unless you win your case.