If you’ve been in a car accident, or have had any type of accident, such as a slip and fall, you really do need to go to a doctor as soon as possible after the incident. This is where many people do themselves a disservice. They might be in what they consider a “small accident” and not notice any injuries right away. They figure that they don’t need to see a doctor because they feel fine. They don’t want to spend the time and money to go to the emergency room or their own doctor, so they skip it. However, the injury may simply not have presented itself at that point. It doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There are both medical and legal reasons to get checked out by a doctor, and we’ll cover both of them here.
Medical Reasons You Need to See a Doctor After an Accident
You need to be healthy and in good condition, naturally. Car accidents are massive intrusions on your health and well-being. Bodies were not meant to deal with the type of force felt in a collision of this nature. Even low speed accidents can cause some serious injuries. Often, after an accident, the body releases chemicals and hormones, such as adrenaline, which can actually mask some of the pain that you feel. You might feel shaken up but otherwise fine for several hours, maybe even days. Then, the pain starts to set in and you realize the extent of the injury. If you had gotten checked out by a doctor, they might have been able to detect what was wrong.
Car accidents can cause a number of different types of injuries. The back and the neck are very vulnerable. Whiplash is common, as are strains and sprains to the ligaments and muscles. Disc injuries to the back occur frequently as well. After an accident, you will want to keep vigilant to notice the signs of these injuries, such as pain, discomfort, stiffness, and numbness. Soft tissue damage can occur, as well as lacerations and broken bones.
Another one of the dangers of car accidents is the possibility of getting a concussion. The impact of a car accident can shake the body, including the brain inside of the skull. When this happens, it can cause a concussion. The symptoms could be mild or severe, and the condition has the potential to be very dangerous. Some of the common symptoms associated with concussions include trouble concentrating, clouded thinking, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, and lethargy.
Even when you feel that your injuries are minor, or that you may not have an injury, you need to have the expert opinion of a doctor. They can ensure that you are truly healthy and that there are no issues from the accident that will start to present themselves later.
Legal Reasons You Need to See a Doctor After an Accident
In addition to your health, you also have to think about the legal ramifications of not seeing a doctor after an accident. If you think that there’s nothing wrong and you forego visiting the doctor, and then the injuries present themselves a week or so later, it could hurt your case. Insurance companies tend to think that if you didn’t try to get help right away it means you weren’t hurt. They try to paint the picture that you simply want to get money out of them, and that you may now be faking the injuries. The insurance companies also worry that if you didn’t go directly to the hospital after the accident, some other injury could have happened in the time it takes you to seek medical treatment and that they will end up paying for that as well. Insurance companies that are investigating accidents have a number of different things that they check during their investigation. One of those things is how long it took you to get to the doctor.
Whenever you’ve been in an accident, it is in your best interest to get to the doctor as soon as possible for your health and for your legal protection. This is true no matter how you feel after an accident, even if you believe you feel fine and just a bit shaken up.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
Shortly after you’ve been in an accident, you will likely receive a phone call from the other person’s insurance company. They will want to know how you are and your version of the accident. It’s important for your own legal safety that you do not answer them. Even though they may seem to show actual interest in how you are doing, they are looking for answers that they could use against you. It’s simply the nature of their business. If they ask you how you are and you say fine, which is a common reaction even when people aren’t fine, they will take that to mean that your injuries aren’t very severe. They will use it against you.
In addition, they may try to reach a settlement agreement with you. They’ll say that going to court would be a hassle, and it would take ages for you to get money through the court. They will do whatever they can to get you to sign their agreement for a settlement. However, you should never settle right away. You have to make sure you’ve been fully evaluated by a medical professional so you understand the extent of your injuries and the type of treatment you need now and in the future. If you sign the settlement right away, you will have no recourse if more injuries arise from the accident, or if you find you need more treatment.
You Need an Attorney
In fact, you should have an attorney on your side who can take care of dealing with the other insurance company and their attorney. They will make sure you don’t sign anything that’s not in your best interest, and they will work hard to make sure you get the best settlement possible.