Ask a Car Accident Injury Lawyer: How Soon After a Crash Do You Need to See a Doctor?

December 15, 2023

After a car accident, prioritizing your health and safety should always be your first thought, and an important part of keeping yourself safe is seeking medical help quickly. An immediate medical evaluation is essential not just for health reasons but also for legal and insurance purposes, as your car accident injury lawyer in San Antonio can explain.

Ask a Car Accident Injury Lawyer in San Antonio: How Soon After a Crash Do You Need to See a Doctor?

After a car accident, the body may be in shock, and this can mask pain and injuries. Some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions, may not show immediate symptoms at all; but they can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Delayed symptoms can appear days or even weeks after the accident, and ignoring these symptoms and delaying medical attention can exacerbate the injury.

Seeking a medical evaluation immediately or at least within 24 hours of the accident will help you be sure hidden injuries are identified and treated early, reducing the risk of complications. Your health and safety are the most crucial reasons of all to get immediate medical help after an accident.

Remember that after the initial medical evaluation, follow-up care may be necessary. This could include physical therapy, rehabilitation, or additional medical appointments. Keeping to the prescribed treatment plan is essential for your recovery, and it also supports any legal claim you might bring. In fact, discontinuing treatment or failing to follow medical advice can negatively impact both your health and your potential personal injury claim.

Legal Implications of Delayed Medical Treatment

Delayed Treatment Can Mean Insurance Challenges

Delaying medical treatment can have significant legal repercussions. Courts and insurance companies consider the gap between the accident and medical treatment when evaluating claims, and immediate medical attention strengthens the argument that the injuries were directly caused by the accident, while a delay can weaken the claim and potentially reduce the compensation.

Insurance companies in particular often look at the amount of time taken to seek medical attention, and any delay can lead to immediate challenges. The insurance company might claim that there's no way to prove your injuries had anything to do with the accident. They may also claim that the injuries aren't as bad as you claim; otherwise you would have sought medical treatment more quickly. All of this can impact your ability to receive fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

Documentation Is Essential for Legal Claims

Your medical documentation will become a vital piece of evidence in your personal injury claims. It establishes a direct link between the accident and the injuries sustained. Without this documentation, it becomes very challenging to prove that your injuries were a consequence of the car crash, and the more evidence you have, typically the stronger your case.

Choosing the Right Medical Provider

Selecting an appropriate healthcare provider is important to making sure you're safe after an accident and will have the evidence you need to show how the accident affected you.

For immediate concerns, emergency rooms or urgent care facilities are typically your best bet. For less urgent but still serious injuries, your primary care physician can provide a thorough evaluation. It's important to inform the healthcare provider about the car accident so they can know what they should be looking for and can properly assess you.

Comprehensive Assessment of Injuries

Getting a comprehensive medical assessment immediately after a car accident is very important, and this should involve a complete check-up, which may include X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to diagnose any internal injuries or fractures. Detailed medical records from these assessments form the backbone of any injury-related insurance claim or legal action. They provide indisputable evidence of the extent and nature of the injuries directly resulting from the accident.

Insurance Concerns

Don't let any concerns about health insurance coverage make you delay seeking medical attention. Most health insurance policies cover emergency medical care, and in the context of a car accident, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage, if available, can also be used. Your personal injury settlement will be used to reimburse your insurer or you, and if you have any concerns, be sure to talk with your lawyer right away. In some cases, hospitals and doctors may be willing to delay payment if they know you plan to bring a personal injury claim.

Getting Legal Help

As soon as you are physically able, consult with a legal professional who can provide guidance on how to navigate the medical and legal processes and negotiate with insurance companies. They can help you deal with insurance companies, gather and use the evidence you have of your injuries and treatments, and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process. Click here to get help.

Don't delay in getting medical help after a car accident. This ensures you get proper care for any injuries and will also help your personal injury claim. Prioritize your health and your legal rights, and contact a lawyer as ​soon as you can.

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