Following Treatment Plan Is Helpful to a Massachusetts Injury ClaimSuffering injuries in a car accident is a very challenging and frustrating experience. This is not something that anyone ever anticipates or really plans for. One day you are going about your normal life whether it be a routine work schedule and family obligations, and the next you’re dealing with injuries, pain, and scheduling doctor’s appointments. On top of all else, the insurance companies are calling and sending documents for you to review and sign. This is almost always a very stressful situation.

If the accident was caused by a careless or negligent driver in Massachusetts, you may be entitled for financial compensation for the medical bills you incur, any lost wages you sustain, and for your pain and suffering. Our Framingham injury lawyers are here to help accident victims in Massachusetts obtain the money they deserve after being hurt in a car crash.

The Importance of Following Your Treatment Plan

At our Framingham based personal injury law firm, experienced accident attorneys will take care of all the legal and insurance aspects of your injury case. Additionally, we will provide you with guidance and advice to put you in the best possible position to recover the money you deserve. One piece of advice is to follow your doctor’s treatment plan. This is crucial for several reasons.

Your Health and Recovery Should be Paramount

Good health is essential for a high quality of life. When we are in good health, we have the energy and vitality to engage in daily activities, pursue our passions, and enjoy meaningful relationships. Good health helps us in various aspects of life, including having positive relationships with family and friends, being productive in our careers and education, and for our own personal well-being. This is why, after being seriously injured in a car accident, it is very important to follow a recommended treatment plan to recover from injuries.

Treatment Promotes Physical Recovery

Car crashes can cause various injuries to almost every part of the body. The injuries can range from minor to severe. Regardless of the severity of injuries, adhering to a treatment plan will give your body the best chance to heal properly and recover from the injuries sustained. Generally, treatment plans for injuries sustained in a car accident often include medications, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and/or rehabilitation exercises. Being consistent with prescribed treatments can help car accident victims reduce pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall physical well-being.

Prevents Complications

After being involved in a car accident, injuries may be obvious right away, such as a broken bone, excruciating pain, or lacerations. However, other times, symptoms may not be apparent right away. Regardless, some injuries, even hidden ones, may have long-term effects or the potential for significant complications if not properly addressed. For example, untreated soft tissue injuries or fractures can lead to chronic pain, permanent impairments with range of motion, or joint stiffness. By following your treatment plan, accident victims can address these issues early on, potentially minimizing the risk of suffering any long-term complications.

Supports Emotional Well-being

Car accidents can be traumatic experiences for victims. Specializing in car accident cases in Massachusetts, our injury attorneys have heard first-hand from many clients how shocking and scary car crashes are. The sound of an unexpected, forceful collision and shattering glass coupled with being uncontrollably thrown about the inside of a vehicle can cause severe mental anguish leading to emotional distress, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some cases. Following your treatment plan, which may include counseling or therapy, can provide the necessary support to address and cope with the emotional impact of the accident. It allows you to work through any psychological challenges and promotes overall emotional well-being.

Being Consistent with a Treatment Plan Can Also Strengthen a Personal Injury Case

In Massachusetts, if you were injured in a car accident caused by a negligent or careless driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Accident victims in Massachusetts pursue compensation by filing a bodily injury claim with the other driver’s auto insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Insurance companies, however, don’t make it easy to recover the compensation accident victims deserve. They will scrutinize your case and try to find any reason to either not pay you or to pay you the least amount possible. One tactic insurance companies often use is to argue that an accident victim didn’t follow their doctor’s treatment plan.

If you are seeking to recover damages after a car accident, following your treatment plan can strengthen your case. By consistently attending medical appointments, adhering to recommended therapies, and following prescribed treatments, you demonstrate a commitment to your recovery. This documentation can be valuable evidence in legal proceedings, which substantiates your injuries and can support your claim for compensation for medical expenses and other damages in order to obtain the full value of your accident case.

Failing to Adhere to a Treatment Plan May be Harmful to an Injury Claim

When pursuing a bodily injury claim with the other driver’s auto insurance carrier, they will often require proof of medical treatment and adherence to a treatment plan to ensure recovery for accident-related costs and expenses. Failure to follow your treatment plan may raise doubts about the severity of your injuries or your commitment to recovery, potentially leading to challenges in obtaining the compensation an accident victim may deserve.

By following your treatment plan, you increase the chances of receiving fair reimbursement or compensation for medical treatment costs and expenses as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

Issues that May be Raised at a Massachusetts Jury Trial on an Accident Case

If you are unable to settle your personal injury case without the need to file a personal injury lawsuit in Massachusetts Court – which is not uncommon for various reasons – failing to adhere to a treatment plan can be detrimental at trial. For example, if the facts support it, an argument that the insurance company’s defense attorneys often present to a jury is that the plaintiff (accident victim) was not compliant with their treatment plan. This creates two major problems for plaintiffs.

First, it allows the defense attorney to suggest or argue to a jury that the plaintiff was not really hurt. The argument there is that, if the plaintiff was as hurt as they claim, they would have consistently followed their doctor’s recommended treatment. Secondly, it may result in a judge allowing the defendant’s request and their attorney’s argument that the plaintiff failed to mitigate their damages. This happened in a recent trial.

In a recent jury trial for injuries that occurred in a rear-end accident in Franklin, Massachusetts, the plaintiff suffered injuries to her lower back. The initial diagnosis was a lumbar (or low back) strain. Subsequent diagnostic tests (x-rays and MRIs) the doctors identified a slipped disc and an aggravation of a preexisting degenerative medical condition. The plaintiff’s orthopedic doctor recommended aggressive physical therapy to strengthen her core and alleviate the pain she was suffering. This plaintiff, however, only attended a physical therapy evaluation and then failed to return to the recommended 8 sessions of physical therapy. The plaintiff testified that she performed her home exercises that the therapist recommended in combination with her physical therapy, but that she did not return to physical therapy. The insurance company’s lawyer then argued that if the plaintiff was as hurt as she claimed, she would have followed her doctor’s recommendations. He also suggested in his closing arguments that she could have mitigated her pain by being consistent with physical therapy. This was a significant hurdle to overcome at trial.

Therefore, if you were injured in a car accident and your treating physicians recommend physical therapy or another treatment plan, it is important for not only our health and recovery to adhere to the plan, but also vital to success in your Massachusetts personal injury claim or lawsuit.  

Charles S. Pappas
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Massachusetts injury lawyer & workers' compensation attorney serving accident victims in Webster & Framingham.