Is It Important to See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
Going through a traumatic experience like a car accident may leave you struggling to figure out what to do next. From dealing with property damage to insurance claims, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. If you’re not in immediate pain, you might be wondering, “Is it important to see a doctor after a car accident?”
After an accident, the rush of adrenaline may hide the effects of your injuries and you may not even notice you are injured. Many people say they feel fine after an accident even though they are hurt. It is common for injuries to appear days, weeks, or even months after an accident. These are called delayed onset injuries.
Here’s the bottom line for protecting your health and legal rights in a potential car accident injury claim:
If you’re injured in a car accident — or think that you might be injured — seek medical attention immediately. If you wait until later to see a doctor, it could hurt your chances of being compensated for your injuries in a personal injury claim. It may also compromise any chance for you to have a full recovery.
Detecting Injuries After a Car Accident
Internal injuries could be difficult to detect. They may not be as visible or painful as other injuries. Soft tissue injuries, like torn muscles, tendons, or ligaments, can be extremely serious. If left untreated, sprains, bruising, and tearing can lead to extreme pain. Doctors can easily diagnose these injuries with X-rays and other medical tools.
Because of the impact of a crash, back and neck injuries are very common. Common neck and back injuries resulting from a car accident include things like sprains, fractures, disc injuries, and spine injuries. Many times, after an auto accident people assume they are just sore from the impact and fail to seek medical attention. However, slight soreness can be a result of a more serious injury that could worsen if untreated. Using X-ray services and diagnoses, neck and back injuries can be properly treated.
Be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible after an auto accident in order to protect your health.
Why It’s Important to See a Doctor After a Car Accident
There are several reasons you should not put off seeking medical attention after an accident. You may not see broken bones or bloody wounds after an accident, but you may still be injured. Some important reasons to see a doctor immediately after an accident include:
- Your injury could become worse. You may not feel you are hurt right away, but any injuries could still progress into something severe or debilitating. For the best chance of a full recovery, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
- A paperwork trail is important for your attorney. Putting off seeking medical attention after an accident could hurt your chances with your insurance company. Your insurance company may argue that the injuries you are suffering are not a result of the accident if you wait too long to seek treatment. Getting proper medical treatment after an accident will strengthen your claim and give you a better chance of recovering compensation. The sooner your injuries are documented, the more evidence your car accident lawyer will have to work with in your personal injury case.
Keep Medical Records and Document Your Injuries and Recovery
Always keep very good records of your visits to the doctor and any expenses associated with the medical treatment you receive. This will include all receipts for prescriptions, travel expenses, the names of all doctors and hospitals you have visited, and a journal of symptoms you have experienced (emotional and physical).
Also, take photographs of any visible injuries including bruises and swelling. Take photographs every day to document the healing process. Documentation is critical to ensure you are fairly compensated after your accident.
“Where should I go for medical care after an accident?”
It is common to be unsure of which doctor to see after an accident. Obviously, if you are seriously injured it is important to go to the emergency room right away and follow up with your primary physician or specialist later. If your injuries are not life threatening you may see a doctor later that day or within a few days of the accident.
It is important to go to a local urgent care center or schedule an appointment for a physical examination as soon as possible.
The following injuries may or may not result in immediate symptoms:
- Sprains and strains
- Some types of fractures
- Internal bleeding
- Back injuries
- Head injuries
- Cuts and bruising
- Brain injuries
When you talk with the doctor about your injuries, be completely honest. Describe any pain or discomfort you are feeling, the severity of your injury, and how your daily life has been impacted. The more information your doctor has, the more accurate your diagnosis and treatment will be. This will also give you a better healing outcome in the long run.
Follow the Doctor’s Recommendations and Treatment Plan
It is important to follow your doctor’s treatment plan thoroughly and in a timely manner. Do not miss appointments or ignore treatment instructions. This may put your health at risk and give the insurance company the impression that your injuries are not significant. Naturally, you have the right to a second opinion, but it is important to follow the instructions of the physician you choose.
Injured in a Car Accident in North Carolina?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, Riddle & Brantley is ready to help.
Our North Carolina car insurance lawyers have more than 220+ years of combined personal injury experience. We are dedicated lawyers that are ready to help. Our focus is on providing experienced legal representation for people who are injured in accidents and for families that have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence.
“I would recommend them to anyone. They fought hard for me.”
–Christine W., Riddle & Brantley client
We are here to help. The consultation is always free and we never get paid unless we get compensation for you.
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