Potholes can cause serious damage to cars, but they can also cause injuries to car occupants. Striking a pothole can cause a flat tire or axle damage that causes a driver to lose control of the car. Drivers often stop abruptly after hitting a pothole, potentially triggering a rear-end collision or pileup.
Even when a pothole does not cause a driver to collide with another car, potholes can lead to car occupant injuries. Research shows that potholes can trick impact sensors into deploying airbags. Car occupants can suffer serious facial injuries and hearing loss when airbags deploy.
Hitting a large pothole can produce the same force as a 35-mph collision. Even if airbags do not deploy, occupants who are wearing safety harnesses can suffer serious joint and neck injuries after a car hits a pothole. Occupants who are not wearing seatbelts may experience concussions, brain trauma, and other serious injuries.
Health Benefits of Seeing a Doctor Promptly
No law sets a time limit for seeing a doctor after a car accident. There are, however, time limits associated with bringing a claim for compensation. Most states also impose strict time limits on providing the government with notice of the claim. Injury victims can protect their rights by obtaining immediate advice from a car accident lawyer after they are involved in a pothole accident.
It is just as important to seek medical advice immediately after a car accident. Whiplash injuries might not produce pain until two or three days after the accident, but prompt treatment — even before the pain starts — can reduce the duration and severity of pain that the injury victim eventually suffers.
Head injuries can cause bleeding and swelling of the brain, but an accident victim might not realize that they have a serious injury until it is too late to prevent death. Delayed treatment of muscle and nerve injuries can cause them to worsen over time. An accident victim who tries to “walk it off” or who doesn’t want to miss work to see a doctor may end up with a long-term disability that could have been prevented with prompt treatment.
Settlement Benefits of Seeing a Doctor Immediately
While a negligence claim is typically made against the government when a pothole causes an injury, state and local governments usually purchase insurance for negligence claims. The insurance adjusters who handle the claims have an incentive to save money for the companies that employ them. For that reason, they look for excuses to avoid paying full compensation.
When an accident victim does not immediately visit a doctor, an insurance adjuster will often claim that the victim came up with the idea to make a false insurance claim. The longer an injury victims puts off medical care, the more likely the adjuster will be to argue that the injury is fabricated or resulted from something that happened after the pothole accident.
Insurance adjusters scrutinize medical records in their search for an excuse to deny full payment of a claim. They pounce upon any gap in treatment as evidence that the injury victim stopped seeking treatment because the victim recovered from the injuries. If a victim stops treatment, it is difficult to overcome the suspicion that the victim’s injuries had fully healed.
To maximize the opportunity to receive full compensation, it is important for pothole accident victims to visit a doctor immediately and to follow the doctor’s course of recommended treatment. If the victim cannot attend a treatment appointment, he or she should reschedule the appointment immediately. If physical therapy is painful or time consuming, the victim should still make a point of attending every session. When medical records show that injury victims did everything their healthcare providers asked them to do, it is difficult for insurance adjusters to claim that the victim is faking an injury.