Q: I was injured in a car accident but didn’t initially feel any pain. It was actually a week later that I started to experience symptoms in my neck and back. Is it too late to see a doctor and potentially file a claim considering that I didn’t report any injuries at the time of the accident?
A: First and foremost, your health is the most important thing following a car accident. So, if you are hurting and feel the need for treatment then by all means seek medical care. Secondly, you can still file an insurance claim even if you did not initially feel pain or report you were injured. Indeed, sometimes after a wreck your adrenaline is flowing and you believe the soreness, stiffness and discomfort is normal after a wreck and will ease in a short amount of time. However, if you begin to feel pain or the discomfort gets worse and does not go away, then it certainly is reasonable to consider a visit to your primary care physician.
In terms of the legal claim, an insurance company or defense lawyer often argues that a “gap” in medical treatment must mean you were not hurting during the “gap” in medical care and that if you are hurting now, the cause of your pain must be something other than the car accident. Likewise, it is always important to follow your doctor’s advice and recommendations. If you don’t follow your doctor’s advice, the insurance company and defense lawyer will say the reason you are still hurting is your own fault for not following medical advice.
Again, your primary concern is your health. And so, you need to make choices that are best for your health.