How Gaps in Treatment Can Impact Patient Care and the Personal Injury Case

Doctor providing patient care to someone who suffered personal injury.

When an accident causes personal injuries, your follow-up medical care will be critical. You will need to seek medical treatment to diagnose the injury. You must also attend appointments for diagnostic testing, physical therapy, and additional care and treatment. During these appointments, doctors and other medical providers will diagnose your injuries and track your progress as you heal. It is important that you keep these appointments. Not only will they help you with the healing process, but if you miss appointments, the insurance company may identify this as a “gap in treatment” and use it to reduce your compensation.

What Is a “Gap in Treatment”?

A “gap in treatment” is a period of time during which you do not receive medical or patient care.

In a personal injury case, there are two types of gaps in treatment. The first is the time between the accident and when you first seek treatment. Ideally, you will seek medical treatment immediately after you are hurt in an accident.

The second type of gap in treatment occurs when you see a doctor immediately after an accident but then let several months pass before you see a medical provider again.

Understanding How a Gap in Treatment Could Affect Your Personal Injury Claim

When an accident causes an injury, your medical provider will recommend medical care to ensure your injuries are treated properly. Their recommendation will be documented, and it is up to you to follow through with the treatment plan they create. If you do not follow through with the recommended treatment, the insurance company may claim that you must have been healed and will try to reduce your compensation.

To obtain the compensation you deserve, your lawyer must prove that the medical expenses you incurred were reasonable and necessary to treat your injuries. If you experienced a gap in treatment, the insurance adjuster may argue that medical treatment after the gap was not related to the accident and they might not make an offer on it. Your lawyer can try to prove it is related or file a lawsuit.

The Medical Treatment Was Not Necessary

If you did not attend scheduled medical appointments, the insurance adjuster may claim that any medical care you received after the missed appointment was not medically necessary to treat the injuries you sustained in the accident. If you try to go back for treatment later, the adjuster may claim the gap in treatment shows that the additional patient care was not necessary or was required to treat another later injury.

You Failed to Mitigate Your Damages

After an injury, you are responsible for obtaining the patient care required to treat your injuries. If you do not follow your medical provider’s instructions and your symptoms worsen, the insurance adjuster may claim that you failed to mitigate your damages by not taking steps to reduce the consequences of the accident.

Legitimate Reasons for a Gap in Treatment

There may be legitimate reasons for a gap in care. You may have experienced an unrelated illness, needed to address a family concern, had transportation issues, or been dealing with another unavoidable matter that made it impossible to make your medical appointment, among other reasons.

Your life does not stop just because you were hurt in an accident. But insurance adjusters will try to manipulate the facts to undermine your claim. That is one reason it is important to communicate with your lawyer and keep them up to date about your medical and patient care.

If you experienced a gap in treatment, the personal injury lawyers at McKinney Vos will gather evidence to explain the missed appointment and show that it was caused by circumstances that were out of your control.

Managing Patient Care After an Accident Causes a Personal Injury

When an accident causes a personal injury, caring for your health and well-being is paramount. Your medical and patient care will also establish a record that will be important to prove the extent of your injuries. You need a well-documented record of the care and treatment you received in order to prove your case. The best way to do that is by making sure the medical record accurately reflects your condition in the days, weeks, and months after an accident.

When you discuss your injuries with your medical provider, be as accurate as possible. Don’t exaggerate or underestimate the severity of the issue. Schedule the appropriate follow-up visits and do your best to attend them. If you need to miss an appointment, call the doctor to reschedule and contact your lawyer to keep us up to date on your progress. The most important part of treatment after an accident is making sure you get better.

Hurt in an Accident? Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at McKinney Vos.

When an accident causes personal injuries, the lawyers at McKinney Vos are here to help. We will listen to your story, gather the evidence necessary to prove your claim, and relentlessly pursue justice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.

Categories: Personal Injury