Some clients do not understand the importance of their role in their case. In all cases, you need evidence. In car accidents, evidence takes the form of documented medical records (these are the ones that carry the day). To have documented medical records, one must abide by and go to their medical treatment. Not going to your medical appointments can be considered “a gap in treatment.”
In motor vehicles, where only a “serious injury” can sustain a lawsuit for pain and suffering, a “gap in treatment” is frequently argued by defendants to mean that the plaintiff has fully recovered from any injuries sustained. Courts will rely on this doctrine in dismissing cases, where they find that a “gap in treatment” is actually a cessation of treatment.
It cannot be stressed enough that medical documentation is the necessary foundation of any personal injury case and the absence of documentation or insufficient documentation will be used against you. While it is preferable that an injured plaintiff treat consistently from the time of the accident all the way up to the resolution of their case, this preference is not always possible. Over the course of a number of years, defenses have emerged to the “gap in treatment” argument, in the form of an “adequate explanation.”
The first of these defenses is known as maximum medical improvement, which in lay terms simply means that even though your injured body parts have not fully healed to their pre-accident condition, medical attention has done all it possibly can for those injuries. Therefore, further treatment, though it may make the victim feel better, will not do anymore from a medical perspective to heal the body or improve its functionality.
The second defense that comes to mind is when the no-fault insurance carrier denies medical benefits and refuses to pay for further treatment, which is deemed medically beneficial and necessary by your treating physician.
In conclusion, it is up to your attorney to gather the appropriate documentation and advise you on how to avoid falling into the “gap in treatment” pitfall, and it is your job to do anything and everything in your power to make sure that your injuries get the medical attention they need. Anything less risks dismissal of an otherwise valid case. It’s a team effort!