It’s a simple fact that the world is full of dangers both major and minor, from an uneven sidewalk that could cause you to trip to a drunk driver who could hurt you or your family on the road. When we come into contact with one of these hazards, it’s not uncommon to wind up with some type of injury, forcing you to consider or receive medical attention. However, considering the significant costs associated with doctors’ visits and trips to the emergency room, it’s easy to see why someone might hesitate to seek treatment, especially if their injury doesn’t appear to be very serious.
Typically, there is no deadline you must follow for getting medical care. However, every day that you delay treatment for your injuries is another day of the distance between when the injury happened, which can make it harder for you to prove that your injury was connected to the accident. Moreover, your condition could get worse because of the delay in care – which the court might consider your fault instead of the fault of the person who injured you. Because of this, you should always seek medical care immediately – or as soon as you practically can – after an accident.
If you or someone you love was hurt by someone else’s negligence in Maryland and you are considering filing a personal injury claim, remember that you have a limited window of time in which to do so, which may affect your decision to seek medical attention after an injury. For help with your potential case, call the Maryland personal injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291.
When to Seek Medical Attention After an Injury in Maryland
If you were out driving your car, walking around, going for a jog, or doing any one of a thousand commonplace activities and were injured in the process, it’s generally a good idea to seek medical attention immediately, especially if you believe it to be someone else’s fault. There are a few reasons for this, which we’ll discuss below.
Treating Injuries Promptly
First of all, there are many types of injuries that may appear superficial at first, but which develop into more serious wounds in the short or long term. If you fell and hit your head, you might only see a bump forming and think that you are okay – but internally, you could face a traumatic brain injury or even a brain hemorrhage, which can be fatal if left untreated. Broken bones, internal bleeding, and other severe injuries can occur out of sight, so it might be prudent to see a doctor and have your condition assessed and avoid possible complications, regardless of how serious you think your wounds are.
Connecting Injuries to the Accident
Secondly, the question of whether or not you received immediate medical attention following your injury can be an important factor in proving liability. Without documentation from a doctor’s office, hospital, or first responder detailing your injuries and establishing exactly when and why they took place, it can be easy for the defendant and their attorney to shed doubt on the facts of the case. They might claim that the injury happened later, that it already existed, or that it took place somewhere else, all of which could make your case more difficult.
Lastly, when it comes time to establish damages – and thus, the extent of your compensation – a lack of medical treatment can make it seem as though your injuries are not severe and do not require much in the way of compensation. Typically, damages in a personal injury case are determined based on the severity of the injury and the costs that resulted from it, be they medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. By not seeking treatment, you could undermine your injury claim and jeopardize any potential compensation.
Legal Deadline to Seek Medical Treatment After an Injury in Maryland
Technically, there is no legal deadline as to how long you have to seek medical treatment after an injury. However, you do have another legal deadline that will limit how long you have to make decisions, seek treatment, and gather the evidence before filing your case: the statute of limitations. the statute of limitations – the legal deadline by which you have to file your lawsuit – is three years for most injury lawsuits, with some special rules for medical malpractice cases. So, while you do have a little breathing room, you do not have unlimited time to wait before seeking medical attention.
However, keeping in mind the aforementioned points, the sooner you see a doctor, the better your chances will be of holding the responsible parties liable through a personal injury claim. Talking to a lawyer early on in your case can be vital. Your lawyer can help coordinate your care, keeping diligent records of how much the treatment costs and what procedures you undergo. Your lawyer can also start building your case and drafting necessary court documents and paperwork during your recovery. Getting your case filed well before the deadline is common in most cases, especially since you will likely not want to wait more than three years before getting the compensation you deserve.
What Happens if You Wait to Seek Medical Care After an Injury in Maryland?
If you wait to seek treatment, there could be different consequences depending on what kind of case you have and what injuries you faced. it is important to consider the fact that lawsuits in court are not the only way to seek compensation, and that insurance companies and other parties might have other requirements for when you must seek treatment.
The immediate and most obvious consequences of waiting to seek medical attention are that you won’t get better. If your injuries go untreated, they may still heal, but they might do so very slowly or they might heal in ways that make things worse for you. For instance, people who break their nose or fingers in an accident might not seek treatment for the injury. These injuries can heal crooked, potentially becoming permanent points of physical or aesthetic discomfort for the injury victim.
Missing Insurance Paperwork
As mentioned, failing to get treatment could mean you have no paper trail connecting your injury to the accident, and it could mean that you have no proof of what the injuries were since you have no medical documentation of the injuries. This can be a problem for a lawsuit, but it can also be a problem for an insurance claim. Many insurance companies might actually ask you to see a doctor of their own choosing to help prove what injuries you have – or they will at least ask for paperwork from your doctor to help prove the injuries. Without these forms or certifications, you might not be able to file an insurance claim.
Missed Workers’ Comp. Deadlines
Workplace injuries often have a strict deadline for when injures must be treated before workers’ compensation claimants end up losing out on their benefits. Workers’ comp. typically covers emergency treatment after the injury, so failing to go to the hospital immediately after the accident might mean that care goes uncovered by workers’ comp. Similarly, allowing deadlines to go by without getting the treatment you need could mean losing your opportunity to file altogether. Talk to a workplace injury lawyer to determine whether you need to follow workers’ comp. rules or if you can file a lawsuit instead.
Can You Sue for Injuries Without Medical Treatment in Maryland?
One reason that you might avoid seeking medical attention is that you truly do not have injuries that need treatment. In some “personal injury” cases, the effects are more mental and emotional than physical. Especially in cases of sexual assault or in accidents involving the fear and pain of seeing a loved one injured in the same accident, your claim could be focused on the mental and emotional damages you faced.
In these cases, you may still need to seek treatment from a therapist or licensed psychologist to help diagnose PTSD symptoms and other recognizable effects of the traumatic experience. Evidence of these symptoms can help you prove your case in court and may be essential in winning your case.
Ultimately, Maryland’s system for allowing damages does not require any physical injury or impact for victims to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress. People who witnessed the death or serious injury of a loved one in an accident may also be able to sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Both types of emotional distress cases are difficult to pursue, so talk to a lawyer as soon as you can about your claim.
In cases involving physical or sexual assault, the court can often award damages for the psychological trauma of the assault even without severe injuries. These cases, again, might be harder to prove without physical evidence of the assault. However, victims claim damages for these kinds of assault cases all the time, and our attorneys may be able to help with your case.
Common Causes of Personal Injuries in Maryland
When navigating daily life, we regularly come across a variety of situations in which we could end up injured due to someone else’s negligence. the following are some of the most common causes of personal injuries in Maryland:
Whether you’re driving to your home, to work, to a friend’s house, or to any other destination, there’s always a chance that you could end up in a serious car accident in Maryland. If you were injured due to the reckless actions of another driver, poorly maintained roads, defective auto parts, or another factor that come about due to negligence on the part of someone else, it is important to get a Maryland car accident attorney on your side.
We travel to many places throughout our day, both public and private; if any of these locations feature unsafe conditions, we could quickly wind up injured. In this case, you would likely want to file a premises liability claim to seek compensation from the owner of the property, especially if your injury could have been easily prevented.
When we go to our doctor’s office or local hospital for treatment, we expect to leave in better condition than we arrived in. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; medical malpractice is a danger to people everywhere – one that can result in serious injuries. If you have been hurt by a doctor, surgeon, or other health care provider, be sure to get a second opinion from someone more trustworthy to help establish your claim.
Free Consultations Available with an Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love has been hurt due to the actions (or inaction) of someone else, know that you don’t have to seek justice alone. Our experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer at Rice, Murtha & Psoras are available to review your case, discuss your options, and fight for just compensation on your behalf. To schedule a free and private consultation, call (410) 694-7291 today.