What Is the Impact of Ignoring Doctor’s Advice on an Auto Accident Claim?
There are a couple of legal standards that apply here. One of them is the obligation to mitigate damages. This means that a person making a claim for personal injuries has the obligation to follow reasonable medical advice in order to maximize recovery and restore themselves to the best health possible. It is a burden that ultimately has to be proven by the defense at trial. If the medical records reflect “Failed to show for an appointment,” “Failed to follow up,” “Failed to go for a test,” or “Failed to follow a recommendation,” you can count on an effort to prove the failure to mitigate damages. That burden is not necessarily easily proven, but it can be, and it can really deflate the value of a case. The failure to follow reasonable medical advice suggests that you are not really hurt, or that you’re faking or exaggerating.
The failure to mitigate damages can create a significant credibility problem for anyone pursuing an injury claim. It is another legal concept that could indicate that you will not be believed or the strength of your case will be diminished. Another concept is just the concept of who has got the burden of proof for the injury, and there are circumstances where a doctor, or even your lawyer, will say, “You really need to be seen by this kind of a specialist,”a certain type of a specialist, and if you do not do that, the case can get into a lot of trouble. There may be important proof that cannot be generated because the proof of an injury has to come from a healthcare provider, and that will diminish or weaken the case. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of reasons that following reasonable medical advice and following your lawyer’s advice become very important.
I have run into circumstances such as this in trials. You can get physicians to testify about various treatment options, but if an injured person does not even explore those options, then it is very hard to prove a case for what is reasonable and what may not be reasonable medical advice. If someone was told, or if it was recommended that they undergo some surgery or treatment that can be a little scary, even if it is experimental or relatively new, not following that advice might be okay, but that is the kind of decision that should be made together with one’s lawyer based on reviewing the medical records and analyzing the data.
The Importance of Photographic Evidence in an Auto Accident Claim
There are different kinds of evidence that are offered in every injury case, and so the scene of an accident, including the vehicles, is important evidence. Evidence of anything unusual, photographs of anything unusual, witnesses who saw any part of the event or the aftermath of the event– someone who came to the scene of an accident who observes someone perhaps in pain, suffering, bleeding or requiring medical attention—should be documented.
Evidence concerning injuries is important, including photographs of broken bones, lacerations, bandages or blood soaked clothing. Any of those things can be a picture worth a thousand words, and that is an expression everybody knows. In addition to photographs, evidence can be in video format. All smartphones are capable of doing that.
The Potential Timeframe of Resolution for an Auto Accident Claim
The potential timeframe of resolution is entirely variable and will depend on the nature of the case. Are there any issues of liability? What is the nature of the injury or injuries? How long do they take to resolve? Are there complications? Is there surgery that is recommended? Then there also is the interaction between a court’s schedule, a lawyer’s schedule and an adjuster’s schedule. There are certain requirements, certain T’s that need to be crossed and I’s that need to be dotted in order to document the claim, and then the parties have to be in a position to try to resolve the case either through negotiation or suit.
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