Many injuries can result from a motor vehicle accident, including but not limited to:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
Seeking medical attention directly following an accident can significantly reduce a person’s injuries.
Following a motor vehicle accident, a person can usually sue the driver and/or owner of the vehicle responsible for that accident in order to collect for damages such as:
- Medical treatment related to accident
- Lost wages due to time off from work because of accident
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Although one can sue for these damages, in New York State under the mitigation of damages doctrine, it is first required that the injured party take reasonable action to lessen their injury and avoid exacerbating their injury or loss. If they put off or do not seek medical attention at all, this can have a negative effect on their lawsuit. For example:
Susan is rear ended by another vehicle when at a stop light. Instead of going to the doctor, she decides to try taking medicine at home to help her back pain. Her back pain continues to get worse and requires surgery and serious time off from work. She may then try to claim that the other vehicle is responsible for all of her pain and suffering, as well medical costs and disability payments, however the other party can argue that she is responsible for needing that surgery because if she had gone to seek medical treatment directly following the accident, she may have avoided the injury from becoming so bad that she required surgery.
Importance in Following Doctor’s Instructions
The injured party must also be sure to follow the doctor’s orders after seeking treatment. If they do not, this can again weaken their case and either decrease what they would have received or even completely bar them from collecting from the accident. Take for example, after an accident your doctor advises that you stay out of work and rest your injury for two weeks but instead you continue doing physical activity. The party being sued can easily argue that you made your injury worse and therefore reduce your settlement.
Sometimes a person might ignore doctor’s instructions because they feel that the treatment is actually making them worse or that it is not being effective in healing them. If this is the case, instead of discontinuing all treatment and therapy, that person should then seek a second opinion and new course of treatment.
Injured in a car accident?
At the Law Offices of Gary R. Weinberg, P.C., we help those injured in motor vehicle accidents to receive the compensation that they deserve. We can help clients seek medical treatment and we investigate the accident in order to retrieve evidence in order for you to bring a legal claim. Please contact us for a free consultation.