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Steps of a Personal Injury Case in Kentucky & Tennessee – Step 1: Seeking Medical Care

February 15 2019 | Blog
  • Some people with a valid personal injury claim may feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the legal process designed to address and amend such grievances. In this three-part series, we present the steps to take when pursuing a typical injury case, from medical treatment to resolution. We hope that this series will help members of our community make informed decisions with regard to pursuing their personal injury claims.

    Situations that give rise to personal injuries claims are diverse. A person may pursue such a claim – and possibly a lawsuit – after sustaining injuries in a car crash, a slip and fall accident or following an injury that resulted from medical malpractice. Each claim is as unique as the circumstances that led to it and the parties involved in the mishap. At the same time, however, all personal injury claims share many common characteristics. For example, in order for a claim to be valid, the victim must prove that the injuries he or she sustained occurred as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another party. In addition, the injured party must be able to show that the injuries led to financial losses or damages. In general, all personal injury claims – regardless of the state or jurisdiction – must meet these two basic conditions.

    Similarly, even though the details of each individual personal injury case may be different, each follows the same basic process governed by the provisions of American tort law. If you or your family member are considering filing a personal injury claim in relation to an accident or a mishap you have suffered, it is important that you understand the various stages of a typical personal injury case. This knowledge may help you and your family prepare yourselves for what lies ahead and make informed decisions at each stage of the process, thus increasing your chances of a successful resolution of your case.

    In this three-part series, we will provide a straightforward explanation of a typical personal injury process in Kentucky and Tennessee – from treatment through settlement negotiations to trial and verdict. In doing so, we hope to clarify many common misconceptions and help our readers to approach their claims with confidence.

    Step 1: Seek Medical Care

    The importance of seeking medical attention as soon as possible after sustaining an injury cannot be overstated. Delaying treatment can have grave consequences, not only for a person’s long-term physical health but also for their chances of obtaining financial compensation for their injuries.

    While in the case of extensive bodily harm it is obvious that the victim must be taken to the hospital without delay, some of those who sustain less serious injuries never actually seek medical attention nor receive the treatment they may require.

    At times, an accident victim may reason that if their injuries seem minor and if they don’t experience any apparent symptoms – save for some pain and soreness – a visit to the doctor’s office isn’t really necessary. However, even seemingly minor accidents and trivial injuries can negatively affect a person’s well-being in the long run. Soft tissue damage or a concussion are just two examples of serious medical conditions that can seem insignificant or even imperceptible to the victim at first. Therefore, seeking medical attention after an accident – even if only to receive a check-up – should be of primary concern to the victim.

    As mentioned, obtaining treatment is also important from a legal perspective. When a person receives treatment in the hospital or from another health care provider, medical records are created. These records describe the type and severity of injuries sustained and contain details of the treatment. Such information can then constitute important evidence in a personal injury case. If a victim doesn’t seek medical care, no medical records will be produced. Later on, when all visible proofs of the injury may cease to exist, their potential personal injury claim may become virtually invalid.

    In addition, waiting too long before seeking treatment can jeopardize a person’s chances for just and satisfactory compensation. If a victim procrastinates seeking medical attention, the at-fault party’s insurer or attorney may argue that the injuries weren’t, in fact, all that serious and therefore any claims for financial compensation are unsubstantiated.

    For the reasons summarized above, seeking medical care and treatment can be rightfully called the first step of the personal injury process. In the following article, we will explore the importance of the next two steps – choosing the right attorney to represent your case and the subsequent review of your claim by your lawyer.


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