Being injured in a car accident can be a scary, painful, and overwhelming experience. Getting prompt medical treatment following a collision is critical to your health but is also vital if you need to file a personal injury claim later. Here, the auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law explain how getting timely medical care protects your wellbeing and rights to compensation.
Getting Prompt Medical Treatment Protects Your Case
The top priority after a car accident is your health. Call 911 to bring paramedics to the accident scene. If they recommend transporting you to the hospital, don’t worry about your car. Go.
If you don’t require emergency care, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you leave the crash site.
Seeking prompt medical treatment helps your legal case in several ways. First, it ensures that your injuries get diagnosed and treated. Some serious injuries are not immediately apparent but can be detected through a physical exam or X-rays.
Second, seeing a doctor creates a record of the accident in your medical history and connects your injuries to the crash. All successful car accident claims must establish a link between the victim’s collision and their injuries. Your medical records are an essential building block on the path to compensation.
Finally, seeing a doctor immediately shows the insurance company you did everything possible to prevent your injuries from worsening. If you delay seeking treatment, the insurer may call the credibility of your claim into question. They may argue your injuries arise from a pre-existing condition or another incident, not the car accident. You may not receive the fair compensation you deserve. Worse, the insurer may deny your claim altogether.
Always Follow Up: How Insurers View Victims Who Delay or Stop Treatment
Take a moment to view your claim from the perspective of an insurance adjuster. A person files a car accident claim and says they suffered serious injuries and need money to cover medical expenses. Yet no medical records indicate the person received treatment for an accident-related medical condition. As an adjuster, your job is to protect the insurance company. Do you take the claimant at their word and settle the claim?
People who fail to seek medical care after an accident or delay getting treatment are viewed as someone that is not seriously injured. It is important to document your serious injuries. You may legitimately be injured, but without proof, an insurer may argue you are lying and just looking for a big payday.
The same may be true for those who stop medical treatment early. An insurer may think your injuries are not as serious as you claimed. After all, if you stop treatment, you must not be in pain anymore.
Remember, an insurance adjuster is supposed to protect the insurance company, not you. If they do not have medical documentation substantiating your accident-related injuries, their first instinct will be to deny your claim or give you a lowball settlement offer.
Not only do you need to seek immediate medical attention, but you also need to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep all follow-up appointments.
What Follow-Up Tasks Should You Do After a Car Accident?
You must advocate for yourself and be proactive about your medical care after a crash. Ask your physician questions and stick to your doctor’s treatment regime. As part of your follow-up, you should:
- Discuss your treatment plan with your doctor – Make sure you understand your doctor’s orders and expectations during the recovery process.
- Ask your doctor about physical therapy and rehabilitation – You may need a referral for rehabilitation services or physical therapy after an accident. Again, take the initiative and get this information from your doctor as soon as possible. This information can help you locate after-care professionals who can help keep your recovery efforts on track.
- Discuss your treatment with family – Get family or close friends on board with your treatment plan. A strong support system can help you stick with your treatment, especially during difficult appointments or painful physical therapy sessions.
- Contact an experienced car accident lawyer – As a no-fault state, Michigan has strict rules on how accident victims must seek compensation for their injuries after a collision. A lawyer can review your case and determine whether you have legal options beyond your no-fault car insurance benefits.
- Keep all appointments – Medical visits can be overwhelming. You may fear painful treatments, wound care management, and endless follow-ups. Protect your claim and stick with it. Go to every appointment and participate in your treatment.
- Seek mental health help – Recovering from a serious injury can be difficult emotionally, not just physically. You may benefit from interactions with a mental health professional. A neutral third party can help you navigate the complicated emotions you may be coping with after a traumatic crash and prolonged recovery. They may also be a source of encouragement and support.
- Avoid activities that can hurt you and your claim – Avoid activities that could be considered risky after an auto accident. You may not be able to exercise, participate in sports, lift heavy objects, or engage in other strenuous activities for a while.
When Should You Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?
How do you know when it is time to go to the hospital? Listen to your body and trust your instincts. In cases where there are obvious signs of trauma like a broken bone, heavy bleeding, or a lack of sensation in your extremities, you need emergency care that only a hospital can provide.
Hospitals are equipped with the staff and technological resources to treat significant injuries.
It is crucial to know that some life-threatening trauma, like brain injuries and internal bleeding, may not present symptoms immediately. Even if you don’t go to a hospital, you need to seek some form of medical care as soon as possible.
What If My Injuries Didn’t Show Up Right Away?
A car accident is a terrifying event that can trigger our body’s internal fight-or-flight response. This reflex is an automatic reaction to stress. During fight or flight, adrenaline floods the body, increasing a person’s heart rate and blood pressure and dulling their sensation of pain. It’s a process meant to put your body into survival mode. The problem with this response is it may delay your ability to get medical treatment because you don’t realize you’re hurt until the adrenaline wears off.
Additionally, some injuries take time to manifest painful or debilitating symptoms. The signs of traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and internal bleeding may not occur until hours or days after an accident. Again, this is why seeking medical attention right away is so crucial. A medical professional can catch some of the early warning signs of injury before they cause significant complications.
Get Help from Our Proven Car Accident Lawyers
Don’t miss out on the compensation you need and deserve after a car accident. Seek medical care immediately and then get in touch with a skilled car accident attorney at Christensen Law. Our personal injury lawyers take the attorney-client relationship seriously and will work diligently to pursue maximum compensation for your losses. Call or contact us today for a free case evaluation.