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I was in an automobile accident and they are saying because I waited I don't have a claim.

Atlanta, GA |

I waited to go to ER for 2 months because I don't have medical insurance and when I spoke to insurance of course they didn't tell me, to get a lawyer. I finally had someone who had watched me in pain, tell me to get a lawyer. So I did and mri found a lot wrong with my back and I need surgery very soon. The damage to my car was minimal and I did state in report my back and neck were hurting but refused the glorious ride in an ambulance. Does the fact I refused medical and self treated 2 months, due to the lack of me knowing how things work, really exclude me from a case? I didn't have ANY problems before with pain and now I can barely walk because of my back. My main concern is surgery to relieve my pain. What can I do?

Attorney Answers 9


  1. Best answer

    If the attorney that you retained said you do not have a case, then contact another attorney for a second opinion. The fact that you waited 2 months doesn't preclude your claim; however, it makes it much more difficult to prove. The insurance company can deny the claim but that doesn't mean that you can't pursue through litigation. Most attorneys won't pursue through litigation, though, unless it can be established that the accident caused the need for the impending surgery.

    If you have preexisting damage but that was asymptomatic and since the accident, has become symptomatic, then causation is more important than ever. Your case will be difficult but not necessarily impossible if the medical support is there.

    I represented someone in the past who waited just over 1 month before seeking any treatment. She needed surgery. I was able to resolve the matter but it was more difficult than some of my other cases. You need an attorney who is willing to really look into the matter. Medical records will be key. Sometimes in cases like this, I will have a potential client obtain their medical records for me to review before deciding whether to take on the claim. You could try obtaining your records and letting an experienced personal injury attorney review them. Good luck.

    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action.


  2. You're two months overdue on hiring a lawyer (a lawyer would have also likely helped you get treatment from a provider that would have worked on a lien). A two month gap in treatment is sometimes a problem. So is a two month period where you talked to the insurer instead of not talking. But if there is good medical evidence, you may have a case that gets weaker as you procrastinate. So today, before work, or anything else, call a lawyer.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer unless you sign a retainer agreement). Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. Note that I am only licensed in Georgia and thus cannot practice in other states. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy. State bar rules require that I disclose my name/contact information in any communication (Glen Ashman)


  3. You will need to hire a local attorney to help you prove that the accident caused these injuries. If you had no preexisting injuries and no subsequent as well, an attorney should be able to help you.


  4. You have not waived your claim. You have 2 years. You haven't done it many favors though, as prompt medical attention is key. Call or email a Georgia licensed lawyer today.

    Our office accepts clients off of Avvo, but this initial impression is not protected by any privilege, is not attorney-client communication and you should consult a lawyer promptly about any legal matter.


  5. The two month delay in getting medical treatment is not ideal, but it may not prevent you from filing a successful claim. Aside from the pain that you suffered during those two months, the issue with delaying medical treatment is that it becomes more difficult (though not impossible) to connect your injury with the accident. You will need to prove that the accident caused your specific injuries in order to recover damages. Accordingly, as other attorneys have already advised you, it is important that you contact a Georgia car accident lawyer today. Do not wait any longer and do not speak directly with the insurance company again. I wish you the best of luck with your recovery.


  6. I agree with what Heather Lottmann wrote. It sounds like you are a person who isn't going to run to the doctor quickly - that's admirable and ought to be rewarded, not penalized. But it is the way of insurers to deny, delay, deflect, defend and they will use anything, including so called "gaps" in treatment, as an excuse.

    I suggest you ask an attorney to review your medical records to see if there is a case. You need proof of the truth, as the truth alone will not get you far in the legal system. You need proof in the form of medical testimony that "more likely than not" the car collision was the cause of your need for surgery.

    You may need to hire an attorney and you may not. Find someone that will take the time to honestly assess whether it will be in your best interest to hire an attorney. As Heather wrote it would be a good approach to have the attorney review your records BEFORE you make a commitment to hire them. If the records and your doctor(s) are helpful, and especially if you end up having the surgery soon, you may be better off with an attorney. If the medical evidence is not there, however, you would be better off having an attorney who will be real about that and save you months or years of legal frustrations.

    The right attorney will be able to find you a doctor (including a surgeon if that is necessary) that will treat you on a lien. A lien is an agreement you and your attorney enter into with the doctor promising to pay the doctor at the end of the case out of the settlement. It allows you to get the care you need without worrying about how you are going to come up with the funds up front.

    Hope my thoughts help a little. Feel free to call me if you need further information.

    Pete Pearson


  7. Legally there is nothing blocking the claim. As a practical matter you have a weak case. With minimal property damage and a two month delay in getting medical care, it is a long shot as to getting a verdict in your favor and unlikely that you will get a settlement offer. You already have a lawyer and they should telling you this. Tread carefully in racking up medical bills if you have to pay them regardless of case outcome.


  8. I have handled cases with similar clients that try to "tough it out" on their own for months before finally accepting the fact that they are truly in pain and it is not improving. I'm not sure who said that "you waived your claim" but delays in seeking any treatment definitely make your case more difficult to prove to a skeptical insurance adjuster or, should the case need to go to trial, then in front of twelve strangers. If you don't have legal representation you need to obtain an attorney as soon as possible. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that their fees are calculated as a percentage of the settlement or judgment. Without an attorney, I would estimate that you might be able to negotiate a settlement from the adjuster for $0.00 to $500.00. So really, you have nothing to lose. You will be in a better situation at the end of the day if you let an experienced personal injury attorney help you navigate these issues.


  9. Although it was because of your lack of health insurance and your inability to pay, the fact that you were able to go 2 months without any medical treatment will definitely be used by the insurer in trying to diminish the value of your claim. However, if you can conclusively prove that your medical condition was caused by the negligence of the other driver, and was neither pre-existing nor was it sustained by you subsequent to the collision nor as the result of some intervening cause, then you should have a viable case.

    Disclaimer: This response is provided to you by attorney Robert G. Rothstein for educational and informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship has been created hereby. Other attorneys may have different opinions or responses. If you found this response helpful, please indicate Best Answer to Avvo. For more information, contact attorney Rothstein directly at 404-216-1422. Thank you.