A car accident is never part of the plan. Being ready for one should be, though. So what is the first thing you should do if you find yourself in the aftermath of a car accident, whether big or small? It may be all a blur in the moment and days following. Should you go to a doctor no matter what? What if you’re not sure that you’re actually hurt? Does it matter if you go to a doctor immediately after a car accident, or can you go a few days or weeks later?
Let’s look at some of the first things you should be concerned with after an accident, including the most important – your health and well-being.
Who Should You Call First After a Car Accident?
It’s the big question – who do you call right after an accident? Should you call 911, your doctor, lawyer, or insurance company? What is most important? The short answer… YOU! If you are in pain after being involved in a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. Even if you’re not in pain right after your accident, it is best to make it a top priority to see a doctor.
Just because you aren’t hurting at first doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong or that no injuries have occurred. Your body has a way of protecting itself or blocking the pain right after an injury. A few hours later, something that started as a little ache can turn into something much worse. Even a few days after a car accident, your body can reveal injuries you didn’t realize existed.
Injuries that appear later make visiting your doctor following an accident even more critical. Your doctor will be able to rule out or make you aware of injuries that could affect your days, months, or even years in the future, depending on the injury. In addition, the documentation that your doctor makes during those first few days after the accident can become vital to your insurance and a possible legal case in the future. Most importantly, you need to ensure that you are taking care of yourself the best way you can, including seeking medical advice and treatment.
What Types of Injuries Are Common in a Car Accident?
There are so many types of injuries that can result from a car accident. Of course, some are worse than others, but remember, they don’t all show up right after the accident. Instead, you could discover you’re hurt several days or weeks later.
Some of the most common types of injuries after a car crash include:
- Whiplash – leading to chronic neck pain and reduced ability to move the neck back and forth.
- Concussion – presenting in many ways (headaches, nausea, confusion, etc.)
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
Of course, this list does not include every possible injury. There are all kinds of ways that car accident victims get hurt and suffer from car accidents. Pay attention to your symptoms. Even minor, seemingly simple symptoms can be a sign of something more serious. Take them seriously and address everything you are experiencing with your doctor.
Can Visiting a Doctor Aid in My Lawsuit?
If the accident you were in wasn’t your fault, you might decide to take legal action against the driver at fault. You may need to sue for damages to recover the costs of medical bills, damage to your vehicle, missed work, and more.
Seeing a doctor after your accident can become a big deal in a legal case. Your attorney will advise you to get to the doctor ASAP if you haven’t already followed the accident. Those records can be used to help build your case against the opposing team.
If you don’t take the time to see a doctor and get checked out, the at-fault party may use this as evidence in the case that you weren’t hurt, or at least weren’t hurt bad enough to seek medical care. This argument could reduce the amount they are liable for, reducing your settlement amount. The more time you wait to seek medical care or advice, the harder it will be for your attorney to prove that you were injured in the car accident.
Are There Other Reasons to Visit a Doctor?
Your insurance company uses the fact that you received medical help as a key factor in deciding on the compensation you receive. However, suppose you didn’t receive medical attention or waited too many days to visit a doctor. In that case, it is a red flag to the insurance companies that you were not hurt in the accident or that your injury was not sustained in the car accident.
Your auto insurance may have a statute of limitations stating that you only have a limited amount of time to seek out a doctor after you are involved in an accident so that you can receive your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage too. The statute of limitations varies depending on the state you live in.
It’s simply a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident to be safe and cover yourself so that you are eligible for all the compensation you deserve.
Have Other Legal Questions?
No matter how big or small your car accident is, the Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. team is here to help. Seeing your doctor immediately after an accident or as soon as possible is only one of the key steps to building a solid case. There are so many things to know to achieve the best possible success and compensation. That knowledge comes from experience.
If you find yourself a victim of a car accident and don’t know how to move forward, give Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C. a call at (504) 522-2304 to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can assist you in your case.