Should I Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident?
You were recently involved in a car accident, but you feel fine. You don’t see any point in visiting the doctor and incurring unnecessary expenses, so you decide against scheduling an appointment. While it is not abnormal for car accident victims to forego medical attention following an accident, you should rethink your decision, as failure to seek medical care could negatively impact a potential future personal injury case.
Reasons Accident Victims Forego Medical Attention
Many car accident injuries are not immediately apparent following a crash. This can happen for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons crash victims do not feel any pain is the rush of adrenaline that courses through the body due to the shock of the car accident. This rush of adrenaline makes it difficult for accident victims to feel or identify any pain. However, once the adrenaline rush subsides, the pain may become more acute.
Then there are those individuals who do feel pain following a car crash, but it’s more of a dull ache than a sharp and urgent pain. These individuals may forego medical attention because they assume the pain will go away on its own.
Finally, there are those accident victims who fail to seek medical care because of presumed cost and/or hassle. Some of these individuals do not have health insurance and so believe it would be more costly to see a doctor for perceived minor injuries than it would to just wait the pain out. Others don’t want to take time out of work or other obligations to schedule one or more doctor’s appointments.
There Is No Good Reason To Not Seek Medical Care
Regardless of your rationale, know that there is no good reason to not at least see your primary care physician following a car accident. As previously mentioned, many car accident injuries are latent, meaning they are slow to develop. The most common types of latent injuries include the following:
- Neck injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Each of these injuries, if left untreated, can result in more severe, life-altering injuries. However, the likelihood that you can recover any compensation for long-term costs and consequences associated with the injury goes down with each passing day. For instance, it may be obvious to an insurance adjuster that your back problems are the result of the accident when you report them to your doctor immediately after the accident. However, when you wait a month or even two, the adjuster might try to argue that subsequent activities could have caused your injuries. Because there are no medical records from immediately following the accident, you have very little evidence to support your claim.
The Ideal Timeframe in Which To Seek Medical Attention
Ideally, you should seek medical care within three days of an accident. This is the case even if you don’t sustain injuries or develop any symptoms. By seeing a doctor within this timeframe, you can ensure you have a completely solid and irrefutable case.
When You Should Contact an Attorney
In most car accident cases, the injuries are minor and the at-fault party’s insurance company is more than happy to pay for minor medical expenses. However, in more severe cases — or in cases that involve severe and costly injuries — the at-fault party’s insurance company may try to get out of paying for damages or try to offer a low-ball settlement. These are the cases in which it may be necessary to hire a personal injury attorney.
If you sustained injuries and excessive damages in a car crash, a personal injury lawyer can assess your case and determine its worth. More importantly, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf, uphold your rights and, if necessary, go to bat for you in court. If you want to obtain the best possible outcome to your case, contact the team at Martinez, Hart, Thompson & Sanchez, P.C. to schedule your free consultation today.