I was in a car accident 1 and half years ago. I was rear ended and my car was smashed between 2 cars. No air bag deployment, I went to ER that night, and followed up with doctor 2 weeks later. Sine that I haven't sought medical attention. I would like representation because of the neck pain I have waking up and going to sleep, pain that exists throughout the day. I'm afraid to get treatment because I'm worried about being stuck with bills if the other guys insurance company refuses to pay them due to the YEAR LONG gap in treatment. Help?
1. NO payment is ever made before settlement, even if the driver admits fault
2. The ONLY way you recover more than nuisance value here is if the ER took an MRI of your back or neck which disclosed a disc injury.
3. ALWAYS see an attorney as the first person you consult after your doctor when you are in an accident.
You need a magician rather than a lawyer. A gap if over a year will be fought by every carrier known to man. Facts are fact and you can't undo these decisions. Perhaps use your med pay to pay for medical and at least talk to a few attorneys to see if anyone of us can help you.
Stephen L. Hoffman
Law Office of Stephen L. Hoffman LLC
The year long gap does create problems but they are not insurmountable. We recovered a jury verdict of over $800,000 in a similar case where the plaintiff resumed treatment. An analysis has to be made of the injury that existed at the time of the accident compared to the injury that exists presently to see if it can logically be linked. Your medical records would need to be reviewed.
This may or may not be as serious an impediment to a fair recovery, as has been indicated here. I have run into this problem many times over the years. Sometimes it has been a factor sometimes not. More likely the amount of a settlement or the amount you receive at a trial will be dictated by the usual variables, including your likablility and believability. It will also be affected by what you have been doing for the past year in terms of physical activity both at your job and at home. If you have witnesses to support the fact that you have scaled down your activities that would be a plus for you. If you have been lifting heavy object or playing rough sports that will hurt. You can't be afraid to get treatment. It doesn't hurt to get a re-evaluation of your injury. The decision as to whether or not you want to incur the cost of PT, Chiro or other modality is up to you.
As my colleagues have suggested you should consult a local personal injury attorney. A 1 1/2 year gap is going to be a real challenge to say the least - Unless there is something contained in the emergency visit records or in the medical notes of your follow up visit(s) that illustrates a serious potential medical problem it is going to be extremely difficult to obtain an attorney on a contingency basis (since an attorney would have to be willing to spend his/her time & money) But give it a try - what have you got to lose
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