Did I damage my car accident claim by avoiding the hospital?

Ideally, an accident victim would receive prompt medical attention after suffering injury in a car accident in Philadelphia. This not only protects your health and wellbeing, but a potential injury claim or lawsuit. However, you are not required to visit the hospital immediately after your accident in order to recover money for your injuries.

Proving Your Injuries Were Serious – Even if You Declined Immediate Care

Victims may decline emergency medical treatment or ambulatory care for a number of reasons, such as:

  • financial considerations (“I can’t afford to take an ambulance ride” and so on);
  • time constraints (“I can’t go to the hospital – the kids will be arriving home from school and I need to be there”); and
  • lack of understanding of the severity of injuries (some injuries, such as head, neck or back injuries, may not manifest for hours or days after an accident).


You must prove to the insurance company and/or the court that your injuries were serious, even though you declined to seek immediate hospital care. You also should demonstrate you are focused on your recovery.

Below are some of the steps you can take to demonstrate the seriousness of your injuries and strengthen your claim.

  • Visit your doctor or an emergency room as soon as possible – Tell a physician about the nature of your accident and any symptoms you have experienced, such as difficulty moving your arms, pain when turning your head or tingling in your hands.
  • Submit to necessary medical evaluations – Your doctor may require X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other diagnostic tools to determine the full extent of your injuries.
  • Maintain complete medical records – Reserve copies of all medical bills and records, including doctors’ notes, diagnostic results, treatment plans and prescriptions.
  • Follow your doctors’ orders – Demonstrate you are serious about your recovery by following your doctors’ instructions to the letter. For instance, do not return to work until your doctor has cleared you for such activity. Obey all other instructions, such as about when you may resume driving or lifting heavy objects.
  • Follow up with your medical care – Do not miss any doctors’ appointments or physical therapy sessions.


The most important thing is to prove you suffered injury as a result of someone else’s negligence. This is possible even when you have delayed medical treatment by several hours or even a few days.

What else can I do to strengthen my personal injury case?

There are several steps you can take to protect your claim and potential compensation:

  • Promptly file your claim or lawsuit – Pennsylvania statutes section 5524 provides you two years in which to take action after a car accident.
  • Collect and preserve evidence that supports your case – Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws (outlined in section 7102 of the state statutes) allow you to recover damages even if you played a role in your accident. However, your final award will be decreased in accordance with the degree of fault assigned to you.
  • Learn more about the legal process – Our free accident book, “Don’t Crash Again: A Car Accident Victim’s Guide to Maximizing Recovery,” provides details on what you can do to protect your potential claim and damages.


You may also schedule a free case consultation with a personal injury lawyer who helps Philadelphia accident victims if you are ready to take action – call Cordisco & Saile LLC at 215-642-2335