The coronavirus pandemic has shut down a major portion of our country, but it hasn’t stopped vehicle and other injury accidents from occurring. Being injured in an accident is always stressful, but the pandemic has added another level of anxiety and confusion when it comes to knowing how to act. The fear of contracting Covid-19 or further overwhelming the medical system has become a factor in considering how and when to seek medical treatment.
Mike Wyatt, a personal injury attorney and partner at Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley, says seeking medical treatment at this time is a personal choice and the safety of each individual comes first. A person choosing to delay initial or further treatment following a vehicle or other accident does not mean that person can’t pursue coverage of future medical expenses.
The victim of an injury accident is bound to have a host of questions. Wyatt shares his professional insight into how to respond during this uncertain time:
Q: If I am injured in a car wreck or other accident, should I seek medical treatment during this time that Covid-19 is a threat?
A: This is a problem that many of my clients that are still going through the medical treatment process are experiencing. Regardless of whether or not you have an auto injury claim, your health and well-being should take priority. Although it’s true that if you treat early and often it will allow me to better establish the extent of your injuries when I present your case to the insurance company, I would never advise a client to seek treatment in a medical facility and put themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19 just to gain a perceived advantage in their case. At the end of the day, I want my clients to weigh the risks and benefits based on the urgency of the medical need only. Indeed, there’s never been a better time in history to explain a treatment delay.
Q: What other steps should I take after an accident during this unprecedented time?
A: Initial steps include:
- Make sure the investigating officer has all the facts;
- Take photos of the vehicle (inside and out) and of the visible injuries at different points in the treatment and healing timeline;
- Document as much as possible and keep all correspondence;
- Avoid giving a statement or too much information to the insurance adjuster before you’ve spoken to counsel;
- Call an experienced injury lawyer. Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley has a proven record of helping clients recover physically, financially and emotionally after an accident. The firm’s attorneys understand that it’s about more than just a monetary recovery — it’s about justice, quality of life, respect, and emotional recovery.
Q: I have been injured but did not seek medical treatment because of the threat of Covid-19. Should I still contact a personal injury lawyer?
A: Yes. We can still discuss the legal framework for an insurance claim and give you an idea of what to expect when you are able to treat at a medical facility. Authorizing your attorney to get involved early will usually help us secure evidence, complete a more thorough accident investigation, and facilitate treatment of medical care through any available medical pay and other insurance benefits.