I was involved in a car crash. The crash was not my fault. I feel fine. Do I even need to visit a doctor? What are the risks if I do not see a doctor?
If you were involved in a recent car accident, it is in your best interest to receive medical treatment. Sometimes, after a car accident, the drivers feel fine, or they just want to brush it off and get back to their lives. Avoiding the doctor after a car accident could negatively affect your ability to recover medically and financially.
Even if you feel like the car accident was minor, you could still suffer from major injuries. Right after the crash, adrenaline prevents you from noticing your injuries. Your injury could be a type of injury that takes days, or even weeks, to show symptoms. Do not say out loud that you are fine after the crash, because you might have an injury you do not yet know about and the opposing party could use that statement against you later when you are claiming damages. Just because you do not leave the scene in an ambulance does not mean you do not have injuries.
It is easy to overlook symptoms. However, pay attention to your body after the crash. If you feel dizzy, disoriented, nauseous, or notice swelling, aches, or pains, you are likely injured. You could suffer from blood clots in your brain, concussion, whiplash, spinal cord damage, or internal bleeding. This is not an exhaustive list. So, it is important to receive treatment.
Waiting too long to receive medical treatment, could hurt your ability to fully recover physically. Getting ahead of injuries can be a key component of your healing process. When you receive treatment, make sure to tell your doctor about the crash so they can perform the proper examinations and ask the right questions.
You will need a complete medical examination. When you explain the crash to your doctor, be as accurate and honest as possible so your doctor can do her job effectively. Any statement you make to your doctor will be in the records, and those records are the evidence you need to back up your claim. This includes physical therapy or chiropractic treatment – all doctors or medical personnel will likely record exactly what you tell them.
Waiting too long to receive medical treatment, will also very likely hurt your ability to fully recover financially because your personal injury claim will not be as strong.
Waiting to receive medical treatment could hurt your personal injury case in many ways, but there are two important issues to discuss: (1) the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster will use the fact that you waited to receive medical treatment against you to lessen your compensation, or (2) the statute of limitations could prevent you from bringing your claim.
(1) Weakens Your ClaimIf you wait too long to receive medical treatment, and then you try to bring a claim against the at-fault party, the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster could use this timeline against you. You are expected to receive medical treatment within a reasonable time. The insurance adjuster could argue that you were not as injured as you claim, because if you were that injured, you would have received emergency treatment. Another argument that the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster could make is causation. In other words, they could argue something else injured you between the time of the car crash and the time you received treatment. An important element for a personal injury case is the causation element. If the other side can argue that you cannot prove the car crash caused your injuries because there was so much time for something else to cause the injuries, your claim could suffer. In either of these situations, your case is weaker and you could receive less compensation (if you receive any at all).
Remember that an insurance adjuster for the at-fault party does not keep your best interest in mind. The insurance adjuster does not care about helping you pay your medical bills or compensating you for your pain and suffering. This does not mean the insurance adjuster is a bad person, they are just doing their job. The adjuster’s job is to save their employer money. They are going to dig and find every argument to lower the payment they owe you.
(2) Statute of LimitationsIf you wait too long to receive medical treatment, but then an injury finally shows symptoms, you run the risk of missing the time frame that you can file a claim. This is called the statute of limitations. Check the rules of your state to know how long your statute of limitations is. In Kansas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years. In Missouri, the state of limitations for a personal injury case is five years.
If you were not taken to the emergency room by hospital, you could either go to an urgent care, or call you primary care physician and make an appointment. Your primary care physician is usually the best option, because they know you and have been seeing you for years. Your primary care physician will know what is best for you. If you cannot get an appointment quickly enough, your next best option would be to visit a doctor in an urgent care facility. Your doctor will refer you on to a specialist if necessary.
Once you have had a chance to see a doctor and take care of your physical health, your next step is to call an attorney. We can help you gather all the medical and billing records you need. We will walk you through the necessary steps. Call Mark Grover with the Grover Law Firm at 913-432-1000 to set up your free consultation.The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.