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How long after an accident can an MRI be taken without the time lapse becoming a major disadvantage?

Chicago, IL |

I wanted to get an MRI for a rear-end accident that I was in almost five months ago to reveal the injury that is causing me pain.

I had an initial diagnosis a week after the accident of a slipped/herniated disc injury. I received a drug prescription but the pain was still present. I subsequently received an MRI that confirmed the original diagnosis as a disc bulge.

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Attorney answers 7

Best Answer

Since you were diagnosed a week after the accident with the type of disc problems which the MRI only confirms, I'm not sure why you think the fact that the MRI was taken five months later is "a major disadvantage." It seems to me that your medical records will confirm that you sought medical help for back pain shortly after the accident, and your MRI will confirm that your back still was, apparently, a source of ongoing pain five months later. The general rule is that a defendant is liable for injuries which were proximately and legally caused by his negligence.

Not legal advice as I don't hold Illinois licensure. It's simply my application of general principles of law to the facts you present. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds Illinois licensure.

Good luck.


I agree with the earlier post. Because you were diagnosed as having suffered a disc herniation/ disc-bulge shortly following the accident, an MRI taken now which confirms your serious injury should not compromise your claim.

Good Luck.


It depends on the insurer, the impact, the insurer.
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I too agree that the fact that you were promptly diagnosed with a disc injury should make the 5 month time lapse not a big deal. It will also be helpful if you treated with your doctor during that 5 month period. Finally, what the MRI report says will be really important to linking your disc disease to the accident. There are some findings that would be consistent with a disc injury 5 months ago, and others that would suggest an injury or damage that happened long before. If you have a real disc case, you probably should consult a lawyer. If you don't have one, make sure that your doctor believes that the injury shown on the MRI came from the accident.

Best of luck.

Michael W. Clancy


I agree that it doesn't sound like a disadvantage. Do you already have an attorney? If not, find someone you trust and ask for a consultation. The sooner you get started, the better. There are many attorneys in Chicago who handle personal injury. If you need help getting started, I'd be happy to give you the name of an experienced Chicago injury attorney I know. 1-800-517-1614. Good luck.

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My general advice is to do what is best for your medical condition and let your lawyer worry about arguing your case. If your doctor thinks an MRI is necessary or advisable - get it. In my experience the five months should not be a big problem under these circumstances. Feel free to call if you have more questions.


This is really not a question for a lawyer to answer. I've been practicing for almost 35 years, and in that time, I've seen cases that go both ways.

If in the judgment of a competent medical doctor you had a need for an MRI five months after you suffered an injury in a crash, there should be no disadvantage if the testimony he gives is credible. If 12 strangers on a Jury would agree that there was a probable justification to take the MRI tracing, it should work to your advantage to have done it.

On the other hand, if it looks like you were going along with a program to just build a case - to put together a house of cards - the Jury is likely to punish you for it.

In your case, you had pain that evidently wouldn't go away. I'd say you would probably have no trouble with justifying the need for it. But if the MRI shows no objective injury, that fact alone could come back to haunt you. A good defense lawyer could easily say that you were trying to pad your case with a bunch of needless bills if there was nothing shown in the tracings.

Your lawyer needs to get that doctor's records as soon as possible to go over them carefully. If you don't have a lawyer yet, get one now. You are going to need help getting good results.

Good luck if you don't follow my advice.

Donald S. Nathan

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