A woman from Kirksville sustained minor injuries in a car accident occurring in Knox County. The accident occurred on June 6, 2012 at 10:20pm.
Jacob A. Whiles of Hurdland was traveling in his 1997 Ford F150 Pickup Truck eastbound on Second Street at East Morgan Street before the accident. This intersection is located in Edina, Missouri. At that time, Starla L. Norton of Edina, Missouri was traveling in her 1997 Honda CRV and was going northbound at that intersection. Norton was also traveling with Crystal A. Hisle of Kirksville. Whiles ended up driving past a stop-sign at his side of the intersection without stopping. As a result, Whiles collided with Norton’s vehicle in its side. Whiles’s vehicle only sustained moderate damage while Norton’s vehicle sustained extensive damage.
It was unknown as to whether or not the parties involved in the accident were wearing safety devices at the time of the accident. Hisle was the only party who was injured in the accident, sustaining minor injuries. The State Highway Patrol responded to the accident and was aided by both the Edina Police Department and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. Even though Hisle was injured in the accident, she refused professional medical treatment and wished to seek her own medical treatment.
Emergency Medical Services manuals always emphasize that a prospective patient or an injured party always has the right to refuse medical treatments. EMS manuals often encourage medical workers to fully explain the risks of refusing treatment or to see if the refusal is of the injured party’s own volition. While victims of a car accident do have the right to refuse treatment, this may create some issues in a Missouri court of law. For instance, the legal theory of negligence is often contingent on the existence of “damages” in addition to other parts of the negligence doctrine. “Damages” is simply the injury a victim suffered and is quantified into a numeric, dollar amount. For a car accident, a victim’s damages could potentially be the damage suffered to one’s property (in this case, a motorist’s damaged vehicle).
For the case of a physical injury, refusing treatment on the scene of an accident could potentially complicate things if a car accident victim wished to recover for such damages. Even if a victim was injured in a car accident, refused treatment, but still suffered consequences due to the injury (including loss of work time and wages), a defense lawyer may argue that the injury itself never existed. The defense attorney may also try to minimize the extent of the injury by noting that it might not have been severe enough to seek medical attention. It may seem counterintuitive that exercising a valid right of refusing treatment can be turned against a car accident victim. However, a person in this situation should consult an experienced Missouri car accident attorney for more information and possible legal representation.