Immediately after a car crash, you wind up in the hospital because of a broken leg or a head injury. The physician overseeing your care eventually recommends physical therapy, regular doctor visits or expensive medication to help you recover.
Possibly because you have mediocre health insurance or because you view the recommendations as a hardship, you might find yourself considering not going to therapy, not taking the medication or otherwise not following the recommended treatment from your physician.
While you have the right to make your own informed decisions about the care that you receive, if you refuse necessary medical care now, that decision could impact your right to crash-related compensation later.
The crux of many compensation claims is fault
If you intend to file a large insurance claim or pursue a civil lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash that injured you, you will likely claim that the other driver has direct responsibility for your injuries and the associated costs they created, including lost wages and medical bills.
However, the other party or their insurance company will have the opportunity to defend themselves against your claim or to try to demonstrate that you have some responsibility for the extent of your injuries and the costs that they produce.
If the other person’s lawyer can point to a complete lack of follow-through with medical recommendations, it is likely that they could compellingly argue that your decision to not follow the recommended course of care is a major contributing factor to your current condition.
What happens if you are partially responsible for your situation?
Pennsylvania, like many other states, applies the concept of comparative negligence to personal injury claims. Basically, the courts recognize that many times multiple people play a role in the outcome of a crash.
If the courts determine that your lack of medical follow-through is a major contributing factor to your current condition and lost wages, they could very well decide to reduce the compensation that they award you by the percentage of fault that they assign to you.
In other words, following through with medical care won’t just improve your prognosis, it will also improve your chances of getting compensation for your injuries.