Feeling overwhelmed and worried is understandable after you get into a severe car accident. If you’re injured, not only will you experience pain and discomfort, but you may also miss work and be unable to live life like before the accident. On top of dealing with injuries, you have to handle car repairs, find alternative transportation, and keep the rest of your life in order. As a result, many people put medical attention at the bottom of their priority list after an accident. However, if you wait or forego medical treatment, you are destroying any chance at meaningful compensation.
Car accident injuries can range from minor bruising and soreness to serious or life-threatening conditions. No matter how severe your injuries are, you must seek medical treatment to assess and diagnose your injuries properly. Unfortunately, you may be unable to detect the true extent of your injuries immediately after the accident. That’s because the adrenaline of the crash will cause your body to go into shock and mask the initial pain.
You might be entitled to compensation if you were injured because of another driver’s negligence. By seeing a doctor sooner rather than later, you’re helping back your claim for damages. The more evidence you have for your case, the better your chance of recovering damages.
In this article, our Denver car accident lawyers address why it’s imperative to see a doctor after an accident.
Your Health Is a Top Priority
You should see a doctor as soon as you can after a Denver car accident. If the crash is severe, seeking prompt medical care is even more critical. Some injuries do not present symptoms until a few days or weeks after the accident. Getting a proper diagnosis for potential injuries is vital so you can start treatment immediately. Specific injuries can be fatal if left undetected for too long. For example, internal organ damage can lead to severe complications and become life-threatening if not treated immediately.
Seeking Medical Treatment Will Ensure You Have Documentation For Your Injury Claim
After getting hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you might find yourself dealing with unfamiliar insurance companies and practices. You’ll also have medical bills to pay.
Another reason to see a doctor after a car accident is for documentation. You are improving your claim by having medical records of your injuries and doctor visits. It will be important later when you deal with insurance companies to have medical documentation of your injuries. More importantly, the medical records should connect your injuries to the accident.
If you don’t have medical documentation, the at-fault insurance companies will try to argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. Or, they could try to assert that your injuries are unrelated to the accident. This is a favorite insurance tactic – arguing that the victim’s injuries are pre-existing or occurred after the accident.
Ultimately, the at-fault party’s insurance company will try to minimize its liability. That’s why it’s essential to see a doctor after a car accident. You’re forfeiting your legal rights to recover for accident-related damages and losses. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove and obtain a comprehensive record of your car accident-related medical records.
Only a Medical Professional Can Prescribe You the Appropriate Treatment Plan
It’s paramount to see a doctor so they can give you the correct treatment for your injuries. It’s also necessary to follow your doctor’s recommendations. That’s the best way to ensure you heal and recover properly. Depending on the nature and extent of your injury, your doctor may prescribe the following:
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- OTC medications
- Time off work or school
- Follow-up appointments
Failing to follow the treatment plan can have unwanted outcomes. For example, if you don’t follow the plan, the insurance company might try to interpret that as non-compliance. Then they might try to use that as a reason to reduce your settlement or completely deny your claim. So be sure to follow your doctor’s orders closely so you don’t put yourself at an increased risk for exacerbated injury.
Seeing A Doctor can Help Expedite Your Insurance Claim
Insurance companies use automated systems to adjust your claim based on data points about your accident. One crucial factor insurance companies use to process a claim is how long it takes you to get medical attention after the accident.
As a general rule of thumb, most insurance companies consider 72 hours a reasonable timeframe to see a doctor after an accident. If you can see a doctor sooner, try to do so. The initial 72 hours is crucial to at least getting an examination. Doing so signals to the insurance companies that you may have been injured and took proactive care of your injuries. Delaying care increases your risk of reducing any compensation you can receive.
Should You Always See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
Yes. Even if you don’t experience severe pain or think you are fine, still see a doctor. Many car accident injuries don’t present symptoms right away. In addition, if you wait too long, an injury can worsen faster. Some of the most common injuries that can go undetected right after a crash include:
- Head injuries like concussions
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck injuries like whiplash
- Back injuries
- Damaged nerves or ligaments
- Spinal cord injuries
It’s often easy to overlook symptoms like headaches and minor soreness. People mistakenly think swelling, numbness, or mild pain will disappear. However, those are all symptoms of a more extreme injury.
What Type of Treatment Should You Get After a Car Accident?
If you are injured and unwell, you can’t live your life fully. Your health and wellness are first and foremost after an accident. That’s why you should see a doctor and get the treatment you need. Depending on the severity of the crash and your consequential injuries, you might need to see a specific type of medical professional. For example, depending on your injury type and severity, you might need to see the following:
- An emergency room doctor
- An urgent care doctor
- Your primary care physician
- A medical specialist such as a neurologist, surgeon, therapist, or chiropractor
Emergency Room Doctor
You must go to the emergency room for catastrophic or life-threatening injuries. Any life-threatening or catastrophic injuries need to be addressed as soon as possible. If you cannot call 911 at the accident scene, ask someone else to do so. The ER is also the best option for an accident that occurs at night since they are open 24/7.
Urgent Care Doctor or Primary Care Physician
If you don’t have an apparent life-threatening or catastrophic injury, make an appointment to see your primary care physician. However, if the appointment wait time is too long, go to an urgent care clinic or walk-in clinics available in your area. Sometimes urgent care clinics have more flexible operating hours than primary care physicians, and you can get treatment without an appointment.
If you think that your injuries can’t wait, don’t delay. Instead, call your primary care physician and explain that you’ve been in an accident. Then, they might be able to see you earlier.
Your doctor might refer you to a specialist for further treatment and testing for specific injuries. For example, you should consult a surgeon to determine if you need a specific surgery. Seeing a specialized doctor can help reduce your treatment and recovery time.
What if My Primary Care Doctor Won’t See Me After I’ve Been in an Accident?
Sometimes getting an appointment with our primary care physician on such short notice can be problematic. In fact, it’s common for primary care doctors to refuse to see car accident injury victims. Sometimes it’s because they want to avoid billing an insurance company. Or, they may not want to testify in court for a car accident injury.
Primary care physicians handle numerous illnesses and injuries daily. However, they may not always be the best type of doctor to handle car accident-related injuries. A car accident often results in injuries like:
- Herniated and bulging discs
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Blunt force trauma
- Broken bones
- Tendon and ligament damage
That means getting a proper diagnosis is crucial, and sometimes you might need to see a medical specialist. In addition, your primary care physician might refer you to a specialist for further testing and the appropriate treatment plan.
If you need immediate medical treatment but cannot find a doctor, go to the emergency room or a walk-in clinic. You might have to pay the high out-of-pocket costs upfront, but you could seek compensation from your injury claim.
Do I Need a Denver Personal Injury Attorney?
If you sustained injuries in a car accident, consulting with a skilled legal professional is always a good idea. They can help you gather evidence, seek compensation, and much more.
Colorado also has a time limit to file a personal injury claim. Your attorney can help ensure you file within the deadline.
Contact an Experienced Denver Car Accident Lawyer Today
Time is of the essence when it comes to seeing a doctor after being injured in a car accident. So, contact our Denver car accident lawyers after you get the proper medical treatment.
We can assist you in obtaining the fair compensation you deserve. Our proven track record and esteemed legal reputation make us the leading personal injury firms in the area.
Furthermore, we handle every client’s case with a compassionate and human approach. We understand how difficult and stressful the aftermath of a car accident can be, mainly when caused by someone else’s negligence. That’s why we are here to help while you focus on healing and restoring your life.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation, or call (720)500-HURT.