I received this question the other day, and I thought others might be interested in the answer as well.
The short answer is “yes.” Just because you didn’t immediately go to the doctor does not mean that you were not hurt and that you don’t have a case.
But those types of delay do make presenting your personal injury claim much more difficult. Insurance companies are looking for any small excuse they can find to not pay your claim. And a “gap in treatment” (as described in the question) is one of the key factors they rely on to defeat claims.
That’s not to say that I agree with insurance companies or that a gap kills your case. I know a number of people who just don’t like to go to the doctor. They’ll suffer an injury and try to wait on the problem to resolve to see if they can avoid going to the doctor. Others simply can’t go to the doctor as soon as they would like. Perhaps they can’t afford a doctor’s visit, don’t have time to go to the doctor, etc.
So while this type of gap doesn’t mean you no longer have a claim, it can make your claim much more difficult.