You have been the victim of a personal injury accident. Your doctor says that you need certain medical treatment. Let’s say that the treatment involves major surgery. You are afraid to get the surgery because of the potential side effects. If you refuse to submit to the proposed treatment, will that negatively affect your legal case? That is, the case against the person who injured you.
This question applies to virtually every kind of injury claim. It doesn’t matter whether the case involves a car accident or a slip and fall. Or a dog bite, toxic chemical exposure, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, or whatever. It doesn’t matter either where in New Jersey the accident occurred.
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PERSONAL INJURY ACCIDENT VICTIM MUST GET REASONABLE TREATMENT
The answer to the question is that, under New Jersey law, your failure to seek reasonable medical treatment might prevent you from receiving compensation for consequences that would have been prevented by the treatment. So, for example, if the surgery would have prevented your left leg from becoming permanently crooked, you may not be able to receive compensation for that disability.
In other words, an accident victim who refuses reasonable treatment must bear the consequences of his or her decision.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the proposed medical treatment must be reasonable. For example, let’s say the proposed surgery has a high risk of causing a side effect that is just as bad, or worse, than the expected problem that not getting surgery would cause. In such a case, the proposed medical treatment may not be reasonable. Accordingly, an accident victim could refuse treatment in that case and still likely receive full compensation for all of his or her injuries.
Sometimes, there is a fine line between treatments that are reasonable and those that aren’t. If you are a personal injury accident victim faced with a decision over whether to submit to your doctor’s proposed treatment, you should consult with a seasoned personal injury lawyer for advice on how your decision might affect your case.