When Patience is NOT a Virtue

Jul. 13th, 2016   /   , , , ,

When Patience is NOT a Virtue

As our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at Aronberg, Aronberg & Green know, waiting too long can sometimes cost you. Not only can waiting too long to see a doctor result in irreversible physical and/or medical harm, but waiting too long after an accident before you see a doctor can come back to bite you in a personal injury case. The latter situation will be discussed in this blog.

One of the most difficult things a plaintiff and his or her lawyer will face in bringing a successful personal injury claim is the issue of causation. In any claim — whether it arises from a car or boat accident, slip & fall, etc. — the plaintiff carries the burden of proving that his/her injury was caused by the accident or incident. Indeed, fairness and logic, as well as the law, tell us that a defendant should not be held liable for a plaintiff’s injuries unless the plaintiff’s injury was actually caused by the defendant’s conduct. Thus, one of the main arguments that defendants will assert is that the injury plaintiff is complaining of was not actually caused by defendant’s actions.

To contradict plaintiff’s causation arguments, defendants will — if they can — point to the lapse in time between the date of the accident and the date on which the plaintiff was seen by a doctor for his or her alleged injuries. This common argument, as our personal injury lawyers know, can be convincing before a jury, who might be encouraged to wonder, “if I was really injured in the accident, would I really have waited that long to go to the doctor?” If you wait too long after an accident to see a doctor, your choice to wait could be used by the defense as indication of the fact that even if you do have an injury, it was caused by something else.

Let’s take a look at an example of how this might play out in the real world. Let’s say Daisy is driving her car and is rear-ended by Zack on June 1, 2016. Daisy hurts her back in the accident, but doesn’t see a doctor until July 1, 2016, one month after the accident. Eventually, Daisy brings a personal injury claim against Zack for her back injuries caused by the car accident on June 1, 2016. The defense responds by showing that Daisy will have real difficulty in proving the causal connection between the accident and the injury, first documented by a doctor one month after the crash. Assume that the defense is able to determine that in June, after the crash, Daisy visited Disney World and went kayaking, both of which could be plausible (more recent) explanations for her back pain. In this situation, as our personal injury lawyers know, Daisy would have been far better off had she gone to the doctor much sooner, perhaps in early June, so that the doctor could document the injuries shortly after she incurred them, thereby preempting any assertion that the injury was actually incurred during some later event.

The truth is, even if you don’t go to trial, but settle the case instead, the fact that you waited too long before seeing a doctor gives the defendant leverage. That is, as our personal injury lawyers know, the defense will pressure you into accepting a lower settlement amount by convincing you that your weak causation argument will bode well for them if you were to actually go to court.

As always, if you or someone you know has been injured or due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green to set up a free consultation by calling 561-266-9191 or by e-mailing us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com. We look forward to assisting you.

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