How Refusing Medical Treatment May Affect Your Injury Claim

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on November 24, 2021  in Car Accident News. Updated on May 25, 2023

doctor speaking to a patientInsurance companies are always looking for any excuse to deny or devalue a claim for compensation. If you were injured after an accident and refused medical treatment, this may give the insurance company the reason they are looking to devalue your claim.

Let our experienced New Jersey auto accident attorneys help you through the process of filing a claim so you may recover the compensation you need, even if the insurance company tries to deny it.

Below, we discuss some instances when an injury victim’s rejection of medical treatment may affect his or her claim, and how our attorneys may be able to help fight for compensation when your reasons are legitimate.


New Jersey’s Rights of Patients code states that each patient shall have the following rights, among others:

  • To be free from unnecessary or excessive medication
  • No person shall be subjected to experimental research without express informed consent

State law also provides the right of bodily autonomy, meaning one has the right to accept or refuse medical treatment under informed consent. Due to these lineated rights written in the state code, a person in New Jersey has the legal right to refuse some medical treatment.


There are some instances when a person may deny medical treatment for things like religion, deeply held personal beliefs or something as simple as not thinking he or she is seriously injured.

Some minor accidents may result in serious injuries that may not be apparent until after proper diagnosis from a doctor. Injury victims who are involved in these types of minor accidents may not think they need to go to the hospital, so they not call 9-1-1 or go to the hospital. As far as the insurance company is concerned, this makes it look like the victim did not suffer a serious injury. The insurance company may use that as a reason to offer a very small settlement.

Fortunately, this refusal of initial medical treatment may be corrected by simply seeing a medical professional as soon as possible after the accident. Remember that some injuries may take time to be felt due to the adrenaline running through your body soon after the accident.

When it comes to refusal of medical treatment for other reasons, such as religious or deeply held personal beliefs, the insurance company may have a stronger argument to devalue a claim because the injury victim’s economic damages like medical bills will not be as high as a person who got the treatment.

However, it is important to note that first responders may try emergency medical treatment at the scene of an accident if a person is unresponsive. In these situations, it would be impossible to discern a person’s deeply held beliefs regarding some forms of treatment.


Whether your claim can be negatively impacted for refusing medical treatment is not clear. That is likely to depend on the facts of a case. Remember that injury victims have certain rights, including the right to refuse medical care in most situations. You have the right to refuse elective surgery.

However, an injury victim who refuses to get basic medical treatment for his or her injuries may have his or her claim denied because the insurance company will have good reason to argue the victim is not injured.

It is important to carefully review your treatment options with your doctor to decide what you think would be best for you and your family. You can then discuss the situation with your attorney so he or she can determine how your decision may impact your claim.

You should not decide what treatments to get based on what you think will result in a larger settlement award. Your decision should be based first and foremost on your health and well-being. Our attorneys are committed to securing full compensation for all recommended and necessary treatment you receive.


After an accident, it is generally a good idea to be diagnosed by a medical professional who can identify your ailments and start treatment. Remember that most medical treatments offered to accident victims are not controversial, such as physical therapy or prescription medication.

Getting the necessary treatment validates your claim by proving you suffered an injury and that you are serious about recovering from it.


Most injury victims get the medical treatment they need after an accident, no questions asked. But there are some instances when it could make sense for a person to refuse medical care. This is when having an attorney on your side who understands your legal rights and is ready to stand up for them is important.

Our attorneys have been fighting for compensation on behalf of injury victims for decades, and we are prepared to do the same for you.

We offer a free consultation and there are no fees unless we win.

Call (800) 518-0508 today to get started.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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