The importance of seeking prompt and regular medical attention for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident was brought home to Senior Personal Injury Lawyer, Tim Downie in a recent case that he has just resolved.
Motor Vehicle Accident Case
My client was a middle aged landscape gardener with an acute aversion to doctors and a phobia of needles. He suffered a progressive spinal injury as a result of a high impact rear end motor vehicle collision.
His work as a landscape gardener was significantly compromised as the injury worsened. Whilst he occasionally sought Chinese massage in an attempt to ease the symptoms, he didn’t visit a doctor or undergo a more common treatment such as physiotherapy.
He sought my advice regarding his accident claim approximately 8 or 9 months after the accident when his situation had become so bad he was unable to work in his own business. Fortunately I had no difficulty establishing the circumstances of the accident, nor of its high impact nature. He had photographs of his wrecked vehicle and had kept the vehicle repair invoices. It was, however, extremely difficult to convince the insurer of the full extent and nature of his injuries and how they have had such a detrimental effect on his life. I struggled to obtain evidence from the Chinese masseuse of his attendances (it was all paid by cash). Ultimately I convinced my client to visit a doctor (he did not have a doctor and had not visited one for many years) and arranged for him to be reviewed by a medical legal specialist.
After obtaining some basic X-rays which revealed some degenerative change in his spine it was difficult to convince the insurer that his symptoms were all accident related. Even after establishing via his Medical Claims History Statement, that he had not sought any medical treatment for the previous 5 years.
Ultimately I was able to settle the accident claim but it was of a more compromised amount than what it would have been if he had visited a doctor from the outset and established regular treatment. The need to establish the link between injury and accident is even more important with the recent amendments to the motor vehicle accident scheme. One of the amendments including the need to establish threshold levels of injury to be entitled to lump sum benefits.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s always preferable, immediately following an accident, to visit the emergency department of a public hospital and/or make an appointment with your doctor. Even if you don’t believe you’ve been badly injured, this appointment can be good for your peace of mind. It can take a few months before the full extent of an injury becomes evident. It’s important to have the details of your accident on your medical record to make sure you start getting treatment as early as possible and to help you with any future entitlements to a claim.
Get in touch – we’re here to help
If you’ve been in an accident we’re here to help guide you through the accident claims process. We have permanent offices in Adelaide, Port Augusta, Whyalla, Murray Bridge and Clare. We also service Roxby Downs on a regular basis.
We have been operating in South Australia since 1946 and have a proud history of ensuring everyone has fair access to the power of the law. That’s why we offer a free initial consultation for all motor vehicle accident claims and a no win, no fee commitment.