If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the fault of another party, then you may be entitled to compensation under Alabama law, but your first priority should be recovering from your injuries — it’s critical that you seek out the medical care you need in a timely manner. Failure to do so could cause a number of problems for you in subsequent litigation.
Let’s explore the issues.
Even if you have injuries that do not require “immediate” medical care, and are not worsened by a small delay, the fact that you waited before seeing a healthcare professional could be used by the defendant to paint you as irresponsible, and more importantly, to paint your injuries as relatively minor. By doing so, the defendant would be attempting to undermine your claim and reduce the overall damages to which you’re entitled.
If you delay seeking medical assistance, then the defendant may argue that your injuries (and the impairments and losses associated with such injuries) were caused or enhanced by the delay, and naturally, this gives rise to an assertion of contributory negligence.
Alabama is one of only a few states that completely prohibits recovery if the plaintiff is even partially at-fault for their own injuries. As such, you could be put in “dire straits” if you have contributed to your own injuries by failing to secure medical care in a timely manner.
Suppose, for example, that you fracture your arm in a motorcycle accident, and you choose not to go to the doctor after the accident — instead, you wrap your arm up at home and only seek out medical care after a week-and-a-half, when it’s clear that there is additional bruising and possibly an infection caused by the delay.
Now, when you see the doctor, they note that your delay led to damage that could permanently harm your arm movement and strength, even after treatment. Under these circumstances, it’s clear that you would have been at least partially at-fault for the injury, and thus, you would be prevented from recovering any damages in a lawsuit against the defendant.
Here at Cross & Smith, our attorneys have decades of experience litigating a variety of personal injury claims on behalf of clients throughout Alabama. Over the years, we have taken numerous cases all the way through to trial — this willingness to relentlessly pursue and litigate claims puts us in a relatively advantageous position. Defendants are often forced to negotiate a settlement favorable to our clients’ interests or be exposed to the risks associated with a difficult trial.
If you’d like to speak to a Tuscaloosa injury attorney at our firm, we encourage you to call us at 877-791-0618 or submit a case evaluation form on our website. Consultation is free and confidential, and you are under no obligation to continue if you decide not to litigate.
"My father-in-law was involved in a horrible traffic accident. The firm was great at handling all of his questions. In the end they got him a great settlement, but the thing he remembers most is that the people at the law firm cared about him as a person. I would highly recommend them to anyone in need of legal services."
Posted By: Jaimie Copeland