Should I Seek Medical Care After a Car Accident?

Car Accidents On Wednesday, April 12, 2023

It is normal to feel overwhelmed after a car accident. You may be arguing about fault with the other driver, attempting to move your disabled vehicle out of the road and calling the police to report the crash. It is essential, however, to put your health and well-being first by pausing to assess yourself for injuries. You should always seek professional medical care after a car accident, even if you feel fine. This is a critical step in the recovery process. 

Your Physical Well-Being Depends on It

The first and most important reason to get medical care after a car accident is to receive a professional evaluation and prompt treatment for any injuries. Even if an injury doesn’t appear serious, the damage may extend deeper than you realize. There may also be risks that you don’t recognize on your own, such as the risk of a minor laceration getting infected. 

Visiting a doctor or hospital immediately after your car accident can grant you the treatment that you need. Many serious car accident injuries require immediate attention, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and internal bleeding. Delaying care by even an hour could be enough to exacerbate your injuries and make it more difficult to recover physically.

There Is a Risk of Delayed Injuries 

Car accidents cause a spike of adrenaline in those involved. Adrenaline running through your veins can act as a painkiller.; you may not immediately feel the pain of an injury or notice that you are injured. Resist the urge to immediately jump to your feet or exit your vehicle after an accident. Instead, remain still and assess yourself for injuries. Keep in mind that even if you feel fine, you may have a masked or hidden injury.

After your adrenaline wears off, some injuries could still have delayed symptoms. A traumatic brain injury, for example, may not cause noticeable symptoms until the damage to the brain is extensive, such as swelling to the point where the brain presses against the skull and causes a headache or other injury symptoms. The possibility of hidden or delayed injuries is why it is important to be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible after a car accident. A doctor can run tests and scans to diagnose an injury even before you notice symptoms.

You Need to Establish Your Injuries for Legal Reasons 

Additionally, seeking medical care after a car accident is important for legal reasons. If you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, you will need to establish your injuries by obtaining official medical records. A car insurance company will require proof of your injuries in the form of medical documentation such as x-rays, your official diagnosis, and a doctor’s treatment plan. If you skip seeing a doctor, you won’t have this important evidence to support your claim.

Having medical records can also help you establish the extent of your injuries and the treatments you need to estimate future necessary medical costs. Without these estimates, you may not fully understand how much your family will have to pay for future medical care. This could lead to you accepting less than you need from an insurance company and financial stress down the road. Having evidence of how much your medical care costs can help you prove the value of your claim. 

Finally, a car insurance company will check to see what actions you took and did not take immediately following a car accident. If you delayed in seeking medical care or did not see a doctor at all, the insurer can use this against you. The insurance company may argue that you are ineligible for benefits because you failed to mitigate your losses. If the insurer can prove that your injuries would not be as severe had you gone to a hospital, this may interfere with your ability to recover compensation.

Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Care

It is in your best interest to always seek medical care after a car accident, no matter how minor the crash. Too much is at stake physically, emotionally and financially to risk waiting to see a doctor. Once you have received medical care and are ready to talk about the claims process ahead, contact a New Haven car accident attorney at Loughlin & FitzGerald, P.C. to request a free case consultation. We can help you file an injury claim.

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