The simple answer is as soon as possible. If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is very important to get your health care providers involved immediately. Health care providers – such as qualified doctors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists – can not only help you recover from your injuries faster, but may be vital to potential personal injury claims.
In a recent supreme court of British Columbia case, lawyers hired by ICBC to represent the defendants tried to advance the argument that a plaintiff’s failure to begin an active rehabilitation program in a timely manner should result in them receiving a smaller award. In this particular case, the plaintiff had waited over a year before beginning an active rehabilitation program:
The failure to seek proper medical treatment and minimize damages is referred to as a failure to “mitigate”. The judge sided against ICBC and the defendants stating:
- The standard is one of reasonableness and not perfection. A mere delay in seeking treatment alone is not sufficient to prove a failure to mitigate.
- It is up to the defendants to prove that a plaintiff could have reduced their losses by seeking earlier or further treatment.
This case illustrates the importance of seeking proper medical advice and complying with that advice. As a personal injury lawyer, I always recommend that my clients seek proper medical advice and can refer clients to experienced experts. However, only medical experts have the expertise to recommend proper treatment.