If you are in a car accident and are feeling at all unwell after the accident, you should go to the emergency room or see your doctor as soon as possible. In this article, we'll explore both the medical and legal reasons for getting necessary medical care after a car accident.
Medical Reasons For Getting Treatment After A Car Accident
Car accidents are serious shocks to the system. They can involve a great amount of force and impact to your body, and our bodies simply weren’t designed to be able to deal with that much force.
Obviously, a slow speed collision in which neither car was damaged is generally not anything to worry about. But even a slow speed collision can cause a serious injury if, for example, you hit your head on the door or any other part of the frame of the car. Any blow to the head can be serious, and especially a blow caused by a car accident. And certainly anything more than a slow speed collision can potentially be serious. If you don’t feel right after a car accident, and the accident was more than a slow speed collision, you should get yourself checked out.
What Type of Injuries Can Car Accidents Cause?
The body part that is most often injured in car accidents is the spinal column (i.e., the neck or back) and the muscles supporting the spinal column. The most common neck and back injuries from car accidents are whiplash (i.e., a neck injury), muscle and ligament strains and sprains, and disc injuries. But car accidents can also cause headaches and other types of internal injuries.
A serious car accident can injure just about any part of the body. This is all the more reason to see the doctor or go to the hospital if you get into a car accident and are not feeling quite right afterward.
Many car accidents cause symptoms immediately after the accident. However, it is not uncommon for a person who has been in a car accident to feel fine immediately afterward and not have any symptoms for a day or two. If you have pain after a car accident, you should seek medical attention immediately. You should go to the emergency room. At the very least, you should make an appointment to see your primary care provider as soon as possible.
How Lack of Medical Treatment Can Become a Legal Issue
Why should my medical treatment be a legal issue? Why is it the insurance company’s business when or how often I go to the doctor or the hospital? Unfortunately, the answer is that, for better or for worse, insurance companies generally assume that, if you did not seek medical attention immediately, you weren’t that hurt -- or possibly you weren’t injured at all. Insurers have standard criteria that they use to evaluate all types of car accidents, and one of those criteria is initial medical treatment.
Insurers feel that the more time that passes between the car accident and the initial treatment, the likelier it is that the plaintiff could be faking. Insurers know that, if you go directly from the accident scene to the hospital, then at least nothing else could have happened immediately after the car accident to have caused your injury. Insurers worry that, if you have a car accident on Tuesday, but do not have any medical treatment until Saturday, you might have hurt yourself fixing the roof or working out on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. You might think that that is a ridiculous assertion. You really were hurt, but you couldn’t afford to miss work. But how can you prove that you didn’t hurt yourself working out? It is impossible to disprove a negative.
This is how not going to the hospital or to the doctor as soon as possible after a car accident can hurt your case and become a legal issue. So, the best course of action, if you feel even the slightest pain or discomfort after a car accident -- or you just feel somehow "not right" -- go to the doctor and get yourself checked out.