You should seek medical assistance as soon as possible after an accident. If you do not go to the emergency room, you should see a doctor within 72 hours after an accident. The goal here is to be better safe than sorry.
Imagine this scenario. You pull out at a green light, and to your right a driver runs the red light. He slams the brakes but still T-bones your car. You don’t feel injured, maybe a bit shaken and sore, but your car is a wreck and emergency services are on their way. You decide that since you aren’t feeling bad, you don’t need to seek emergency medical treatment.
A couple of weeks pass, and you still feel the effects of the accident so you decide to see a doctor. You’re diagnosed with a concussion and bruised ribs. This leads to several weeks of painful headaches and blurred vision. Even simple tasks like driving or cooking become difficult. This will cost you not only time away from work but also out-of-pocket expenses for ongoing doctor appointments.
Adding up the medical bills, you finally think to yourself, “I shouldn’t be responsible for this, the person who hit me ran a red light.” When you contact their insurance company, the representative immediately questions why you waited so long to see a doctor. You did, after all, say you were fine at the scene of the crash.
After a lot of back-and-forth with the insurance company, your claim is denied. You finally hire an attorney but your medical bills are already in collections and you have to file a lawsuit, which will take months. It’s one difficulty after another.
By getting medical help early, you can establish a clear diagnosis and line of treatment. Even if your injuries prove minor, at least you have it documented. This will make life much easier during your recovery and dealing with insurance reps.
How Do I Know If There is Something Wrong?
You never really know the extent of your injuries until you see a doctor. If you don’t feel injured immediately after a car accident, you are not alone. A whopping 87% of those injured in a car accident feel significantly worse in the following weeks.
After an accident, your body releases adrenaline and endorphins in response to stress. These hormones temporarily numb your pain until the stress of the crash has somewhat subsided.
It may be hours, days, or weeks before you realize that something is wrong.
How Should I Approach Treatment After an Accident?
When you arrive for treatment, be sure to tell your doctor precisely what happened. Identify any and all pain or soreness you may be experiencing for a thorough exam. Once you have a diagnosis for any injuries caused by the car accident, follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations. Whether its physical therapy or a few days off from work, you should listen to the doctor’s orders.
Be sure to go to your follow-up appointments and let your doctor know of any changes in your symptoms. It may help to keep a journal where you can write down everything from daily frustrations caused by your injuries to synopses of doctor appointments. This will help you recall specific events and dates just in case you need it. It is essential that you take your treatment seriously. Frequently missing appointments can look bad even if you have to reschedule for important reasons. Even the appearance of neglecting care for your injuries can be used against you, so do your best keep your appointments and follow your doctor’s advice.