You have just been involved in a car crash. Although the crash scene looks pretty bad – your car was knocked off the road and there is debris scattered over a wide area – you yourself feel okay. You look yourself over and do not see any bruises forming. You do not see any blood and it does not appear you have been cut. You are able to walk on your own without assistance and without pain. When first responders arrive on the scene and ask if you want to be taken to the hospital, you politely decline the invitation and tell them you “feel fine.” Have you just committed a serious error?
Why Declining Medical Attention After an Accident Can Be Harmful to a Later Lawsuit
Suppose in the example above that it is determined that another driver’s carelessness is what caused the accident. Suppose further that several days after the accident you begin to notice strange symptoms. Your back and neck are feeling sore, or perhaps you notice a shooting pain in your back or tingling in your legs and/or arms. After several days of at-home treatment that fails to provide relief, you finally make an appointment and see your doctor. It is then your doctor diagnoses you with serious spine and neck injuries. In such a scenario, your refusal to be medically evaluated after your car accident can hurt your prospects of success in obtaining compensation for your newly-diagnosed injuries in two ways.
First, it becomes more difficult now for you and your car accident attorney to connect your injuries and their severity to the negligent driver’s conduct. The at-fault driver and his or her attorney will speculate and raise doubt about whether your injuries would have been as severe as your doctor noticed if you had sought treatment earlier. If you returned to work between the time of your accident and the time of your diagnosis, the at-fault driver and his or her attorney may even try to suggest that it was your work activities – not the car accident – that caused your injuries. It becomes, therefore, much more difficult and costly to prove a connection between your injuries and the car accident.
Not only this, but South Carolina follows a “modified contributory negligence” rule that prohibits an injured plaintiff from receiving any compensation for his or her injuries if the plaintiff’s own negligence exceeds the negligence of the party. Thus, the at-fault driver may contend that your refusal to seek medical treatment after the accident was a negligent act and was the primary reason for your injuries being more severe than they would have otherwise been. If successful, this defense can mean that you are unable to recover any compensation at all.
Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Attorney
Greenville car accident attorney David R. Price, Jr. has represented numerous car accident victims in South Carolina. He knows what it takes to properly present a case and win, and he may be able to help you obtain compensation for your injuries as well. After a car accident, seek medical treatment even if you “feel fine” and then contact David R. Price, Jr. He will make sure you understand what you need to do in order to maximize your chances at recovery. Contact him right away by calling (864) 271-2636 or contacting him online.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.