When Is It Too Late To Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident

Jan 10

There are two ways of looking at the question, “Is it ever too late to go to the doctor after a car accident?” If you are thinking from a medical perspective, it’s never “too late.” You should go as soon as you notice an issue regardless how long it has been since an accident. With it being common to wait weeks to get to see your doctor for non-urgent issues, the sooner you call and make the appointment, the better.

On the other hand, if you are asking about when it is too late to see a doctor from a legal perspective, that is a little bit of a different conversation. The first and most important thing is to always put your medical needs ahead of legal concerns. Having said that, the law understands:

  • Many accident-related medical problems do not materialize overnight
  • There are numerous barriers people deal with that discourage them from seeking necessary medical treatment

If you believe you have an injury claim from your crash, see your doctor and then speak with an Indiana car accident lawyer right away.


Medical Problems Don’t Always Materialize Immediately

Some injuries are immediately apparent. You might have wounds, pain, and other signs of a serious injury. Others might take much longer to realize. It can be hard to detect broken ribs, internal bleeding, concussions, or whiplash right away. These injuries often require imaging tests to identify and even then testing may not show them right away.


If You Notice Symptoms

If you have obvious car accident-related ailments and you are just dragging your feet about getting to the doctor, a court and/or an insurance company is not going to look favorably on this. It can look suspicious when someone avoids medical treatment. It can also make your case weaker if you are seeking financial compensation.

For example, if you tell the other party you are in pain and need surgery to correct your injury, they can argue, “If you are in so much pain, why didn’t you go to the doctor right after the crash?” They might also argue that your condition worsened because you didn’t see a doctor.

Avoiding Medical Treatment

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one-third of people avoid going to see the doctor. Research indicates that the top excuses people give for not getting in to see their doctors are:

  • 3% – having an unfavorable opinion of doctors, western medicine, the pharmaceutical industry, or their mega-hospital conglomerate medical facility
  • 1% – being intimidated by the unreasonably high cost of medical treatment in the United States
  • 6% – are too “busy” to get to the doctor’s office
  • 2% – not thinking that your symptoms are serious enough to merit a doctor’s visit
  • 3% – because of not having health insurance or because of being under-insured
  • 4% – a belief that the condition would improve on its own or with alternative therapies

While no one likes going to the doctor, you should not allow this to affect your health or legal and financial rights. By seeing a doctor as soon as possible, you can boost your chances of a successful recovery from your injuries, both physically and financially. Even if some time has passed since your accident, getting a medical evaluation immediately is the best move.


When Is It Too Late To Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident: The Statute of Limitations

It’s never too late to visit a doctor after a car accident. Even seemingly minor injuries warrant medical attention, as symptoms of certain injuries can take hours or even days to manifest. Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4 states that you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If part of your case is seeking damages for medical expenses, you’ll need to prove your injuries. The more documentation you have, the better. In other words, the sooner you start medical treatment, the easier it will be for your lawyer to argue that you deserve compensation.


What Happens After Your Injury Diagnosis?

After you know you have injuries from a crash, you should take the next step toward seeking the compensation you deserve. Once you hire a car accident attorney, they will begin the injury claim process.


Gathering evidence – They will collect all relevant information about the accident, which may include photographs of the scene, damage to vehicles, and any visible injuries. Your attorney can obtain a copy of the police report, medical records, and any other documentation related to the accident.

Calculating your damages – Your attorney will review all of your accident-related expenses, including medical bills, vehicle repair costs, rental car expenses, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket expenses. They will assess your intangible losses, like pain and suffering, as well.

Negotiation and settlement – Your attorney will file claims with the at-fault party’s insurance company after they assess liability. The insurer may offer a settlement, but it’s crucial to consult with your attorney before accepting any offer. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to seek a fair settlement that adequately covers your damages.

Litigation, if necessary – If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. If litigation becomes necessary, your attorney will guide you through the legal process and represent your interests in court.

Remember, every car accident claim is unique, and the process may vary depending on the specific circumstances. Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help ensure your rights are protected, maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation, and provide the necessary legal support throughout the claim process.


Call a Trusted Indiana Car Accident Lawyer Now

Blackburn Romey is a team of injury lawyers with decades of experience in personal injury and car accident cases like yours. Allow us to advise you of your rights and obligations concerning your specific accident. Our Indiana law firm works with personal injury victims around the clock—it’s all we do. Contact us now at 833-FOR-HELP or via our contact form. The sooner you call, the better!

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Tom Blackburn, who has more than 47 years of legal experience, including over 39 years specializing as a personal injury attorney.