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When to See a Doctor After a Car Accident

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If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, you might not be sure whether you’ve been injured. While some car accidents are relatively minor and only result in property damage, car accident injuries are relatively common. Each year in the U.S., an average of six million car accidents occur, resulting in three million people suffering injuries. However, you might not notice symptoms for several hours or days after a collision. Scroll down to learn when to see a doctor after a car accident.

When to See a Doctor After a Car Accident

If you are involved in a collision, knowing when to see a doctor after a car accident is important. Even if you do not initially think you’re injured, it is still a good idea to seek an immediate medical evaluation from your doctor. Certain types of injuries, including whiplash, back injuries, internal bleeding, and concussions, might have a delayed onset of symptoms. Getting a prompt diagnosis can help to prevent your injuries from worsening and aid in your recovery process. Seeing your doctor as soon as possible can also protect your rights to recover damages in a car accident claim. Most auto insurers require their policyholders to see their doctors within a set period following a crash to file injury claims.

When Should You Go to a Doctor?

One of the first things you should do after a car accident is to see a doctor for a medical assessment. Millions of Americans are injured each year in collisions. Getting your injuries properly diagnosed, including injuries that are not visible, is critical.

It is also important for insurance reasons. Most insurance companies include limits for when their policyholders must see their doctors following collisions to file claims under their medical payments coverage. In most cases, your insurance company will want to see that you sought medical care within 72 hours following your accident. If the other motorist was at fault, you should still promptly seek medical attention. Seeing a doctor and getting your injuries diagnosed right after your collision helps to prove to the insurance company that they were caused by your collision instead of a different event.

Insurance Company Tactics

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses and engage in multiple strategies to try to reduce how much money they might have to pay for claims or deny them altogether. If you wait to get medical treatment, the auto insurance company will likely try to argue that your injuries were not caused by the collision. Insurance companies often ask accident victims to sign medical authorizations allowing the companies to access their medical records. If you are asked to sign any documents by the other driver’s insurance company, you should avoid doing so without talking to a personal injury attorney. Insurance companies frequently use medical authorizations to dig through victims’ entire medical history in an effort to blame their injuries on an earlier event. Your lawyer can help by handling the communications with the insurance company for you to counter these and other tactics.

The Problem of Delayed-Onset Symptoms

Some people do not realize that they have been injured in the immediate aftermath of a collision. Several factors might cause symptoms to be delayed. In an accident, your body releases adrenaline as a part of your natural fight or flight response. Adrenaline can mask the pain that you would normally feel. You might also be in shock following a collision, which also can cause you to not notice your symptoms.

Certain serious injuries might not show symptoms for days or weeks after a collision. If you wait to seek treatment, you might have a more difficult time proving that your injuries happened in your accident.

Two types of injuries that can have a delayed onset include whiplash and concussions. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head. Concussions in auto accidents can also occur even when your head is not directly impacted but is instead jolted forward suddenly. Make sure to go to your doctor as soon as possible after a collision to be assessed for any injuries even if you initially think that you are okay.

Speak with an Attorney at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook

Whenever you are involved in a collision, you should see your doctor for a medical assessment. You might have hidden injuries that require prompt attention. At a minimum, try to see your doctor within 72 hours of a collision. If you were injured in a crash that was caused by someone else, you should also consult an attorney at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. Call 479-783-8000 (Fort Smith), 918-912-2132 (Tulsa), or 479-455-2210 (Fayetteville) to schedule your free consultation.