Gaps in Care After a Car Accident: Why to Avoid Them & What to Do if You Can't

Law Blog

If you've been injured in a car accident, you may have to seek several weeks or even months of treatment with either a chiropractor or physical therapist—but it's important to make sure that you are as consistent as possible with that treatment. 

Otherwise, any gaps in your care could be used against you. Here is what you need to know:

It's important to seek medical help as soon as you realize you are injured.

If you even think that there's a possibility that you're injured while you're still at the scene of the accident, call an ambulance and get checked out. There's nothing wrong with it. Additionally, not all injuries show up on medical tests, and hospital emergency room doctors are aware of that. They may diagnose you with something like whiplash or another "soft tissue" injury that comes from being jolted around in a car accident like no human body should be jolted around.

If you don't go straight to a hospital, seek medical care as soon as you realize you hurt—waiting a week or two could be deadly to your case because the insurance adjuster can claim you may have injured yourself some other way during that time or weren't really all that hurt—or you'd have been seeking care sooner.

Go to the appointments as often as your chiropractor or physical therapist recommends.

The odds are good that the appointments you have to keep for the next few weeks or even months are going to hugely disrupt your life—but you need to go to them anyhow. Otherwise, the insurance adjuster may use any gaps in your care to try to devalue your claim.

The logic, from the medical adjuster's point of view, is that if you were really injured, you'd bend heaven and earth to get the medical care you need in order to relieve the pain. This kind of thinking often ends up costing people who are simply stoic by nature or who don't believe in complaining about their aches and pains.

Discuss any gaps in treatment with your attorney.

There are, of course, legitimate reasons for missing a few days—or even a week or two—of medical treatment. For example, if your chiropractor does an adjustment and it causes your soft tissues to swell up again, he or she may order you to stay home and use ice for a few days before returning.

In addition, you may also have an otherwise unavoidable event that causes you to miss an appointment. For example, you may have had a long-planned vacation, you may come down with the flu, or you may have to undergo a surgical procedure that precludes treatment from your chiropractor or physical therapist for a while during your healing period. Just keep track of the reasons and make your attorney aware of the issue so that the insurance adjuster cannot use the gap in care as an excuse to carve a chunk out of what you're rightfully due for pain and suffering.

For more advice on how to handle the aftermath of a car accident, visit resources like


19 September 2017

Noni and the Accident

My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.