The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After a Car Accident
Should I Seek Medical Care After an Auto Accident?
It’s no secret that car accident statistics are staggering. In addition to the fact that more than 90 people die every day in car accidents, a shocking 3 million people are injured every year!
Of those 3 million people who get injured, about 2 million drivers endure permanent injuries as a result of their accidents.
Distracted driving, speeding, and reckless driving are 3 of the most common reasons behind car crashes. And if you’ve been in an auto accident, you don’t always realize you’re injured right away. More often than not, car accident victims don’t know they’ve been injured until hours or even days after they’ve endured a crash.
It’s vital to seek medical attention after a car accident, whether your injuries are immediately apparent or not. Doing so will help you physically, mentally, and legally.
Keep reading to learn all about delayed injuries and when you should seek medical attention after an accident.
Why Are Injuries Often Delayed?
Many car accident victims don’t feel any pain during the event of a car accident. There’s scientific reasoning behind it, and some of it can be attributed to endorphins or adrenaline.
Whether they’re minor or major, car accidents are traumatic. When you experience a car crash, your body fights to protect you from the trauma of the crash. It does so by releasing a surge of adrenaline, which causes the “fight or flight” response when something traumatic or dangerous occurs.
Adrenaline can cause various human preservation responses, such as:
- Reduced pain or NO pain
- Dilated airways and blood vessels which increase the flow of oxygen
- Increased energy
- Changes in vision and hearing which allow you to focus on sounds and sights ahead
There you have it! Adrenaline can actually cause you to feel NO pain at all, despite the fact that you may be significantly injured.
With a sudden rush of adrenaline, some people can feel panicked or confused. Luckily, in conjunction with the adrenaline rush, the human body releases endorphins, which cause a person to feel calm or in control.
Those endorphins can also affect the way an individual responds to stress and pain.
Once adrenaline and endorphins wear off, and a car accident victim allows themselves to relax and reflect, that is when they typically begin to feel pain sustained from an injury.
Which Injury Symptoms Are Noticed Later?
While experiencing emotional disorientation and mental trauma, many car accident victims don’t notice injury symptoms. In fact, a lot of symptoms only become noticeable days after an accident.
Back pain can occur as a result of an injury to the ligaments, nerves, or muscles in the back. It can even occur days later as a result of damage to the vertebrae.
If you’re experiencing back pain, don’t hesitate to see a doctor after your car accident.
Headaches are one of the most common injuries that accident victims notice days later. They can indicate a potentially serious issue, such as a blood clot in the brain or an injury to the neck or head.
They can even indicate a concussion!
We’ll talk more about whiplash in a bit, but it should be noted that any loss of feeling in the hands or arms is a common indicator of a whiplash injury.
Whiplash is also one of the MOST common injuries associated with car accidents, particularly rear-end crashes.
Between 25 and 40 percent of whiplash patients never recover, which is why it’s so important to seek medical attention immediately after an accident.
Abdominal Swelling or Pain
Any pain or swelling in the abdomen commonly indicates internal bleeding. If there are any areas of deep purple bruising, or if you feel dizzy at all, don’t wait to seek medical attention.
While internal bleeding can remain undiscovered for days, it can be life-threatening, and time is of the essence.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is extremely common after a car accident. While it’s often harder to diagnose than more obvious physical injuries, a personal injury lawyer will know exactly how to proceed in getting the compensation and treatment you deserve.
PTSD is especially common in children. Without treatment, they may experience flashbacks and panic for years after the accident.
Changes in Personality
Impaired memory or thinking, movement, problems with hearing or vision, and any personality changes or signs of depression, should all be taken seriously in the event of an accident.
These could signal traumatic brain injury from a concussion.
Whiplash Symptoms Are Often Delayed
Whiplash is especially important to take note of. It’s one of the most common car accident injuries, but it’s also an injury that a lot of people don’t seek treatment for.
Many people don’t even realize the symptoms they experience are a result of whiplash until their neck, back, or head pain becomes much worse. At that point, the injury is usually aggravated and much harder to treat.
Many insurance companies have time limits for seeking medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, waiting too long to see a chiropractor after a car accident can be detrimental to you legally, financially, and medically.
If you wait too long to contact a car accident lawyer and visit a doctor after your car accident, you might not be able to get the medical help and compensation you need to treat your injuries.
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What to Do at the Scene
There are certain things you should do right away in the event of a crash.
First and foremost, if you feel hurt or in pain immediately after a car crash, don’t wait to seek medical attention.
If you’re up for it, take as many photos of the collision as you can.
Don’t admit fault or apologize for the accident as this can be taken into account as an admittance of guilt.
Get a police officer there to write a report, and ask for a copy. Note any witnesses and get their names and contact information to hand over to your lawyer.
If anyone asks if you’re hurt, say that you’re not sure (unless you’re 100% positive that you aren’t). It’s the truth.
Seek medical attention regardless of what you feel. Make sure you inform your doctor that you’re coming from a car accident.
Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Attention
After the trauma of a car accident, it might be tempting to go home to try and unwind and forget about what happened for a moment.
However, the best thing you can do for the damage to your car, the health of your body and mind, and your legal right to ask for compensation, is to see a doctor. Even if you aren’t in much pain initially, you have no idea the extent to which that pain could affect your life down the road, especially if you don’t get treatment.
Even if you’re sure your neck pain or anxiety will go away, see a doctor so that you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the care you need and deserve.
Make sure you tell any medical professional you see that you were recently in a car accident as it will help them to better diagnose and treat any injuries you may have.
Don’t Make Your Claim Look Fishy
Every year, car crashes cost the United States upwards of $1 trillion in loss of life and loss of productivity alone. Insurers pay around half of all motor vehicle crash costs.
As much as they are there to help, insurance companies want to protect their money. If you wait too long to see a medical professional, it looks suspicious as there are always drivers and car accident victims who try and take advantage of the claims system.
A defense attorney will be the first to use it against you if you waited too long to see a doctor for your injuries.
Remember that as important it is to seek medical attention the very first time, it’s just as important to be consistent and continue to attend follow-up appointments and adhere to your doctor’s treatment plan.
If you miss appointments or create significant gaps in your care, you’ll cause suspicion amongst insurance companies and defense lawyers.
Always Consult Your Auto Accident Attorney
After you’ve reported the accident to your insurance company, be mindful of any return calls you receive. Don’t make any recorded or official statements or disclosures without first speaking to your lawyer.
Don’t sign anything without first forwarding it to your personal injury lawyer. If your insurance company or another driver’s insurance company calls to ask questions, you can direct those representatives to your lawyer.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney After an Auto Accident
Car crashes are scary and confusing, regardless of how severe they are. Not only do they cause physical injuries, but they can affect many areas of an individual’s life, from picking their kids up from school to performing the necessary duties of a job.
Many injuries require months or years of treatment. It can be challenging to keep up with all the paperwork, phone calls, work, medical visits and bills, and property damage solutions that often come as the result of an accident.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, give yourself peace of mind knowing that an excellent personal injury lawyer is working on getting you the compensation you deserve.
Just make sure that you see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident, and don’t miss a single appointment in your treatment plan.
Are you worried about yet another bill? Contact us for a FREE case evaluation to find out how we can help.