A drunk driver swerves into your lane and totals your car. You suffer serious internal injuries and have to go to the hospital. You know that the other driver’s insurance will cover your medical care, but you start to worry about how long you will be away from your job because of your injuries.
Although your doctor specifically tells you that you are not cleared to return to work, you convince your boss to let you start up again. Soon enough, you realize that not following through with the treatment plan means you have ongoing pain, reduced strength or even recurring symptoms.
Unfortunately, you may find that you won’t have as good of a claim for insurance benefits if you failed to follow through with the orders of your doctor after your initial injury.
Non-compliance with medical orders makes you partially responsible
If your doctor gave you specific instructions, like staying off of work for another two months or completing several weeks of physical therapy, those treatment recommendations are important not just to your medical recovery but also to your insurance and personal injury rights.
Right after the crash, it was obvious that the wreck was the primary cause of your symptoms and conditions. However, you could contribute to the severity and duration of your symptoms by failing to comply with medical orders. The insurance company covering the other driver might point to your failure to follow through with medical orders as evidence that you are to blame for your current symptoms and inability to continue working.
Your non-compliance is a significant form of contributory fault, which essentially means that you are partially responsible for your current situation. Even if you take the other driver to court, they could mount an affirmative defense that your failure to follow through with treatment is the real reason that you have lasting consequences, not the initial crash itself. Such a claim could reduce how much you recover or result in the dismissal of the lawsuit in some cases.
Focusing on your recovery means following medical orders
If you want your life to get back to normal as soon as possible, then the best approach will be to closely follow all medical instructions. Only skilled and trained professionals know how to properly treat traumatic injuries.