Despite the stay at home order in El Paso and Las Cruces, people are still driving and car accidents are still happening.
Last week, I witnessed the aftermath of a serious wreck on the Gateway by my house in El Paso.
The federal government has eased restrictions on the hours of service rules for 18-Wheelers and other commercial motor vehicles. Normally, these are the rules of the road that help prevent driver fatigue, which makes it an especially dangerous time to be out on the road right now.
It’s clear that coronavirus is spreading in this community and elsewhere. That means that good people do not want to needlessly risk catching coronavirus by calling 911 or going to the hospital after a minor car accident.
What should you do if you have been in a car accident and are worried about contracting coronavirus?
First, perform a risk analysis.
If you are seriously injured or suspect that you suffered a serious injury like a traumatic brain injury, broken bones, etc., the only choice is to go to the hospital to get checked out.
I have heard that University Medical Center (UMC) in El Paso is where the COVID patients are being taken right now. UMC, even though it is a Level 1 trauma center, may not be the best hospital to choose right now (if you have the choice).
If your injuries are not serious or life threatening, it’s probably not the best time to go to the hospital due to the coronavirus.
Should you seek physical therapy and other therapeutic treatment right now?
While some of the local facilities are open, some are doing telemedicine appointments, and some may be closed.
The stay at home orders have exempted healthcare as an essential service. But do you really want to get your treatment right now in these tough times?
These are the questions to ask yourself right now:
- How bad am I hurting and in pain?
- Am I at a higher risk for suffering death or serious illness if I catch coronavirus?
- Will the facility use best practices to reduce the threat of coronavirus if I continue my therapy?
- Can my therapy wait until the smoke clears?
Some of our clients have made the choice to get therapy, including one client who recently had a wreck with an 18 wheeler and is having serious pain in his arms and back. Others have chosen to wait it out until this passes.
Both choices are good right now for those specific clients. Likewise, you should make the best choice for you.
Obviously, you should never continue therapy just under the belief that it will make your case better. These are dangerous times and your health is the number 1 priority.
If you want to continue treatment, talk to your provider and make an informed decision about whether to get that care. Practice all of the safe hygiene recommendations from the CDC and the local health authorities.
What about my case?
The insurance companies, being inherently evil, will still attempt to minimize the value of your claim by arguing that there is a gap in treatment if you choose not to treat right now.
With that said, if ever there was a legitimate time to delay treatment, now is that time.
If you are not going to seek treatment, I still suggest keeping a pain journal until the smoke clears and we are allowed to resume our “normal” activities. In your journal, you should note the following:
- Write it to “your lawyer” so that it will remain privileged in the event that your lawyer doesn’t think it is helpful; and
- Journal that you want to get medical treatment but are scared to get that treatment because of the fear of catching coronavirus.
How Harmonson Law Firm can help
Despite the fact that you may not be seeking medical assistance right now, it is still a good time to hire a lawyer to help you for when that smoke eventually clears. We can get your claim set up, help explain to the insurance company and their adjusters why you are not seeking medical assistance, and help get you on a plan to address your injuries the second it is safe to venture out into the world again.
We are still open and ready to help, but you don’t need to come into our office. You can sign all of our paperwork with your smartphone. I am personally accepting video conferences or good ol’ telephone calls.