Is receiving professional medical treatment essential to your claim for personal injury compensation?

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There are serious injuries that require obvious medical attention, such as open fractures, severe lacerations and head injuries. With minor injuries such as a sprain, back pain or bruising, we often elect to ‘self-medicate’. But in order to pursue a claim for a personal injury compensation, do you have to have received medical treatment?

In short, the answer is no, and this may surprise many. That being so, it is far easier to make a claim if you have received treatment from a GP, hospital or other specialist practitioner, such as an osteopath or physiotherapist.

The main reason medical treatment will help with a claim is that doctors will note on a client’s medical records the extent of an injury, the course of treatment prescribed and any ongoing treatment. This provides irrefutable evidence of an injury and can be used by a claimant’s solicitor when evaluating exactly how much compensation a claimant is likely to be claiming for, along with details of other losses.

Reporting & recording an accident

Clearly, medical treatment in itself is not the be all and end all of making a claim. An injury does not provide evidence of negligence and proving negligence is the key element of any claim. That is why it is vital that when making a claim, the incident is reported to the relevant party. For example, in the case of an accident at work, an injured employee should ensure that the management of the business are made aware of the matter and that an accident book entry is completed. The accident book provides proof of the incident, the medical records will then provide proof of the injury.

But what if you haven’t had medical treatment?

If you haven’t seen a GP, been to hospital or to see any other expert, you may still be able to pursue a claim for compensation, but proving your injury will be difficult. If you haven’t reported your accident as stated above, you really will struggle with a claim as your solicitor will have no evidence in which to prove how you were injured or what your injuries are. But all is not lost and you may still claim.

Direct2Compensation have helped people succeed in claiming compensation, even when they have not received medical treatment. For example, one of our clients had been involved in a road traffic accident. He had been hit from behind whilst stationary at traffic lights. He had reported the incident to his insurers and they arranged for his vehicle to be recovered and repaired at the expense of the 3rd party responsible for the incident.

Within a day or so of the collision, our client began to feel tension, stiffness and pain in the upper back, shoulders and neck. Whilst he thought that he may be suffering from whiplash, he elected to use massage therapy from his wife, pain killers and hot showers. After about 6 weeks, his symptoms eased, with just a little neck pain.

He contacted us after looking in to whiplash injuries and asked about making a claim. In this case, we were able to get the 3rd party insurers to agree that his injuries had been sustained, even though their was no supporting medical evidence. This was because they had been notified of the incident in the first place, had reports of the extent of the damage to the rear of his car, and agreed that in such a circumstance whiplash injuries would be consistent and they agreed a settlement.

To summarise, it is always best to obtain medical treatment if an injury appears to last more than a few days and if you are considering making a claim for personal injury compensation, we would very much recommend you do see your GP or go to A&E.

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