Your Legal Rights at Work

Skipping Medical Appointments Can Hurt Your Injury Settlement Negotiations

by Lewis Hamilton

Negotiating with an insurance company for a higher settlement after a car accident can be tricky. One important factor that strongly influences these negotiations is whether or not you go to all your medical appointments and complete prescribed therapy. People often start out with the best of intentions but later succumb to various reasons not to go. That harms their chances of acquiring better compensation from the insurance company.

Even if you hire a car accident lawyer at some point during the process, the attorney will have a difficult time acquiring a better settlement if you have skipped several medical appointments or stopped going altogether. The insurer will probably conclude your injury isn't as serious as you originally claimed. 

Consider the typical reasons people have for avoiding medical appointments and make sure you overcome similar temptations. 

Time-Consuming Nature of Therapy

Certain types of therapy, such as physical therapy and chiropractic treatment, may require numerous sessions over weeks or months. Those sessions may be scheduled weekly or even more frequently. You may find this to be a hassle and don't feel like you have time for all those appointments.

However, if there are gaps in your treatment because you miss appointments, your efforts -- or your lawyer's efforts -- to prove you deserve better compensation will be undermined. Your proof of injury is established not only by diagnostics but by your adhering to a treatment regimen prescribed by your health care practitioners. 

Therapy's Apparent Ineffectiveness

Similar to the complaint about therapy being time-consuming is the concern that the therapy isn't working -- and thus is a waste of time. Keep in mind that treatments such as physical therapy and chiropractic care may require several appointments before noteworthy progress is experienced. 

If you truly feel that you're not experiencing any improvement, consult your doctor instead of just giving up. This way, you'll have medical records documenting your concerns and the physician's response.  

Lack of Transportation

Your vehicle may have been totaled in the accident or you may not be able to drive due to your injury. That doesn't mean you can avoid going to medical appointments. You need to find a way to get there, whether that involves getting help from friends and family, taking a cab or using a transportation service for disabled individuals.

Disagreement With Treatment Recommendations

You may be skeptical of complementary therapies such as chiropractic care or massage therapy, even if a medical doctor recommends this treatment. That can lead you to cancel appointments or not even start the therapy. 

Contact a car accident lawyer for a free consultation if you have questions about these factors and to learn whether you have a good case for a higher settlement.