I am feeling fine after a minor car accident. Will skipping a doctor’s visit now hurt my chances of a personal injury settlement later?

From a purely health perspective, we would have to recommend that you get yourself checked out at a doctor. With the rush of adrenaline and nerves you experienced immediately after the accident, your body may have been suppressing pain as part of your ancient survival mechanisms. You may not realize you are injured until you have had a chance to calm down.

Additionally, injuries, even serious ones, can take days to manifest themselves, or may not always have obvious symptoms. For your own health and safety, we would hope you go to a doctor immediately or shortly after a car accident.

On a financial level, the longer you wait to use your insurance or make claims against the other party’s, the longer you may be stuck with unpaid medical bills or lost wages. The longer you wait to treat injuries, the more expensive your treatment could become.

In legal terms, skipping a doctor’s visit until injuries arise does not prevent you from reaching a settlement later on. However, it may make it more difficult.

In Massachusetts, there is a three-year period in which to claim personal injury after an accident. However, the longer you wait after an accident, the easier it is for insurers and, later on, attorneys to argue that your medical expenses are not the result of the accident.

So, call your doctor—and then call us to discuss next steps.