Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
Yes, if you have suffered any level of injury in a car accident you should see a doctor as soon as possible. We understand the emotional turmoil that follows an accident may lead you to postpone the very important self-care of obtaining medical treatment. Many drivers and passengers and even pedestrians and bicyclists involved in a car accident refuse medical evaluation at the scene of the accident by responding EMTs.
These injured people refuse to go to the hospital emergency room because they unrealistically make a self-assessment that minimizes their level of injury. “Yes, I am hurt, but it will go away,” or “I don’t have time,” or “I just don’t want to deal with this right now,” are some of the thoughts they have. In our more than 25 years of experience fighting for the rights of car accident victims, we have seen time after time that delayed onset or intensification/worsening of pain is an all-too-real result of many accidents. Therefore, it is worth repeating: if you have suffered any level of injury in a car accident you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Be Proactive with Injuries for Medical Reasons – Please Take Care of Yourself
One of the most important reasons you should see a doctor after a car accident is to be proactive with injury symptoms, including pain and lack of mobility, that have not yet reached the highest levels of severity. Delayed onset of pain, immobility or other functional impairments are real and affect many people following even car accidents with relatively minor levels of auto body damage. The chemicals in your body can easily and frequently do hide pain for some period of time after the accident. It is possible that pain and lack of function will not be fully experienced until days, weeks, or even months after the accident. For this reason alone, you need to see a doctor after a car accident.
Medical Records are Vital for a Personal Injury Claim and Lawsuit
As any experienced New York personal injury attorney will tell you, the importance of medical records to any claim or lawsuit cannot be overstated. This cannot be stressed enough. If you want to file a claim or lawsuit against the drivers who caused the accident that left you injured, having medical records that can be submitted as evidence is a critically important aspect of your case. The only way to acquire medical records related to your car accident injury is by seeking medical treatment after the accident.
This is not the time to quietly carry your pain. You must report about anything and everything that is hurting you or any function of your body that has changed since the accident. Your doctor(s) may prescribe testing to confirm or rule out a diagnosis and will use your examination and test results to develop a treatment plan. This medical examination, testing and treatment documentation is the framework upon which your claim for damages is built.
An Otherwise Valid Claim or Lawsuit Can Become Compromised by a Lack of Treatment
The lack of medical treatment on your part after a car accident can compromise your legal claim against the negligent driver. One goal of the at-fault party’s insurance company is to pay as little money as possible for accident claims or deny them altogether. They will try to use this against you if you wait too long to seek medical evaluation or fail to see the doctor after the crash. This is so even if you have acted completely in good faith thinking, as mentioned above, “Yes, I am hurt, but it will go away,” or “I don’t have time,” or “I just don’t want to deal with this right now.” Insurance companies follow standards when evaluating claims and one of those standards is how quickly you sought out medical care following a car accident.
The longer you wait to see a doctor after a crash, the likelier it is that the insurance company will deny your claim because they will try to twist your good faith to appear as if you are exaggerating or faking the injury. They will argue, “If he/she was so badly hurt, why didn’t he/she have medical treatment as soon as possible?” Your good faith delay of hoping your symptoms will resolve favorably without treatment may be maligned by an insurance carrier or defense lawyers implying you have concocted a dishonest scheme during the period of non-treatment.
What Can a Doctor Do for My Car Accident Injuries?
This is a question many car accident victims ask, and the answer will vary depending on the type of crash, the severity of the collision, and the seriousness of the injuries you suffered. One of the most common car accident injuries is that of whiplash, which can occur in any type of accident, including what is, sadly, too often dismissed as a “minor” fender bender. Whiplash injuries can be terribly painful and totally disabling. A doctor may consider the following for your whiplash injuries:
- Prescribe physical therapy
- Show you stretches and strengthening exercises
- Prescribe massage therapy
- Prescribe pain medication
- Give you a neck brace
- Send you to a chiropractor
- Provide you with an epidural or cortisone shot to help reduce the pain
Legal Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Along with consulting with a medical doctor as soon as possible after suffering a car accident injury, it is also recommended that you schedule a free consultation with a New York personal injury attorney at Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. as soon as possible too. Even if you did not suffer a visible injury, you should speak to one of our experienced, compassionate and dedicated attorneys about the accident. Please protect your rights. Take the first step toward taking good care of yourself by calling us today at 516 932 0400.