Hurting After a Car Accident? Here’s What to Do
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it is an emotionally, and often physically, jarring experience. Regardless of the severity of the crash, you can experience injuries right away, with some potentially developing over time. If you have experienced injuries as a result of a car accident, regardless of how inconsequential you feel they are, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
According to Baker & Gilchrist, with information from the U.S. Department of Transportation and other sources, every year there are approximately 6 million motor vehicle collisions, causing over 2.5 million reported injuries. Even though car accidents and the injuries they cause are commonplace, it is important to keep in mind that when injuries go untreated, they can worsen over time.
Additionally, the longer you wait, the more difficult it is to prove that the injuries were accident-related. Timing of treatment means everything to insurance companies. By delaying treatment, you risk your health and jeopardize the possibility of compensation due to someone else’s negligence. There are quite a few steps to take directly after a car accident and there are also a lot of things you should not do right after a car accident.
Seek Medical Attention
It doesn’t matter how badly injured you feel. Even if you classify your pain as a 2 out of 10, it is still recommended that you visit the doctor. Not only do injuries sustained as a result of impact collision become more aggravated over time, but the minor pain you feel at the moment could be indicative that a much more serious problem is developing.
You should seek medical attention immediately after the accident, or soon thereafter, regardless of mild or severe physical pain. Not everyone who suffers injuries will experience traditional pain symptoms. You should also see a doctor immediately if at any time you feel the following symptoms, as they may be signs of an undiagnosed concussion:
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Loss of balance
Difficulty focusing, reasoning or concentrating
Lethargy or insomnia
Nausea or vomiting
There are legal reasons why you should seek medical attention for your injuries as well. As stated earlier, if you don’t seek medical attention, or if you don’t seek it right away, it will be more difficult for you to prove to the insurance companies that your injuries were a result of the accident. An insurance company will always assume that because you did not seek treatment in a timely manner, you were fine and that your post-accident injuries were not due to the collision. It will then fall on you to prove that your injuries were related.
Everyone knows the importance of taking pictures and notes at the scene of the accident. But, you should also separately document your injuries through photos (remember that bruises get worse before they get better), and document your daily struggle with pain by maintaining a written journal. Your written journal will help your doctor in his ongoing evaluation, and it could help your lawyer in his attempt to secure financial compensation from the insurance company on your behalf.
A car accident is traumatic on both a physical and emotional level. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you feel any pain at all. The earlier you see a physician, the better chance you have at making a full recovery, and the better your chances are of negotiating fair financial compensation for your pain and suffering.