You should get medical attention immediately if you have been in an accident. Even if you do not have any physical injuries, you must get checked by a doctor to protect your health and legal rights.
After an accident, you should visit a medical facility within 72 hours for a full assessment. The initial shock from a crash can mask bodily injuries, pain, and aches for several days. However, visiting a health facility for an evaluation can help you prevent the onset of health complications caused by serious injuries.
In some cases, victims may feel too guilty or embarrassed to visit the doctor, especially if they believe they caused the accident. You should address your injuries proactively by visiting your primary physician, an emergency room, or an urgent care facility.
Some insurance policies also require owners to visit a medical facility after an accident within a limited time frame. This statute of limitations allows you to receive personal injury protection. Going to a doctor at the right time also ensures you are eligible for compensation for your injuries.
Why Should You See a Doctor Immediately After an Accident?
Aside from safeguarding your health, there are several reasons why you should visit a healthcare facility immediately after an accident.
As discussed earlier, some auto insurers require a detailed medical report before you can get personal injury protection. Check your policy to see the time frame within which you should see a doctor after an accident.
Statute of Limitations Following a Crash
Personal injury protection offers coverage for a variety of medical expenses. Read your policy carefully to learn which injuries are covered under PIP to stay prepared in case of an accident.
Depending on your policy, you may be required to get medical attention within a limited time frame, such as 14 days, to be eligible for PIP.
Seeking medical treatment after the required window has elapsed may force you to forfeit your right to claim PIP coverage.
PIP covers your medical bills even if you are at fault for the accident.
Some Injuries May Appear Later
Some injuries are not obvious immediately after an accident. Symptoms can appear late, showing up days or weeks after the crash.
For instance, soft-tissue injuries or concussions are late-appearing injuries that may develop into more serious conditions.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can occur as a result of trauma to the head. You may not feel it instantly because it takes time for the body to register the injury. This is similar to muscles getting sore several days after an intense workout.
Even if your head was not directly injured, jerking forward suddenly with great force can result in a concussion. The sudden movement shifts the brain causing a moderate traumatic brain injury.
Watch out for any symptoms such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Cloudy thinking
- Trouble retaining new information
- Blurry vision
- Low energy
- Balance problems
- Sleeping less or more than usual
Helps You Document Your Injuries
You need detailed medical reports to file a claim for compensation after an accident. Medical treatment and related expenses are typically the biggest percentage of damages in a personal injury case.
Ensure that you continue with the course of treatment recommended by your doctor until it is complete. This includes attending physical therapy, diagnostic examinations, prescriptions, and at-home rehabilitation.
Keep a detailed report of any expenses, including time spent doing at-home exercises, to support your personal injury case.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Cover?
Personal injury protection is mandatory in some states. It ensures that drivers’ medical expenses are covered in case of an accident. There are many benefits of having a PIP cover. For instance, it offers coverage for:
- Emergency rooms care
- Ambulance expenses
- Primary care visits
- Rehabilitative services
- Mental health counseling
- Dental services
- Post-surgery physical therapy
You will have to seek treatment from approved providers stated in your policy. This is an important factor that determines whether you are eligible for coverage. Using non-approved healthcare facilities may lead the auto insurance company to refuse or deny your claim.
What If I Am Injured but Did Not Take an Ambulance?
If you are injured but cannot drive, ask a passenger, or call someone to drive you to a medical facility. It is important to document your injuries and get emergency medical attention as soon as possible after a crash, however minor.
What If I Do Not Have Serious Injuries?
It is not uncommon for accident victims to put off seeing a doctor if they do not have any serious injuries. You should always see a doctor, even if your symptoms are minor.
Schedule an appointment for an evaluation to determine whether your symptoms may be an indicator of serious injuries.
After an accident, the adrenaline hormone rushes through your body. This powerful hormone can mask the pain temporarily. Once the rush subsides, you may realize you have soft tissue injuries, fractures, or worse.
Any symptoms, such as neck pain, headaches, or shoulder pain, may indicate brain injuries, concussions, or spinal injuries. Visit a doctor to rule out any complications and guarantee your health.
What To Do After an Accident
So, have you been involved in a car accident and not sure what to do to protect your rights? Here are the three most critical things you must do:
Seek medical care immediately
Do not delay treatment even if you do not feel any pain or have any physical injuries at first. Follow the treatment protocol prescribed by the physician to safeguard your health and prevent costly complications in the future.
Seek legal advice
Talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you are eligible for compensation.
Even if you were partially at fault, you might still be eligible for compensation to recover medical costs, property damage, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
Keep detailed records
It is natural to forget information. After an accident, you may suffer from stress and shock, making it difficult to retain information.
Keeping detailed records will help you if you forget important details and assist your attorney in negotiating better terms of compensation with the insurance adjuster.
These records and the doctor’s reports also make it possible to establish a link between the accident and your injuries.
Taking care of your health should be paramount following a car accident. Even if you don’t feel injured or experience pain initially, it is still important to get checked out by a doctor as other injuries may not appear until weeks or even months later.
Depending on the state you live in, there might also be a limited amount of time to request personal injury coverage and protection.
Keep in mind that seeing a doctor right away is essential for helping build your case and obtaining the damages needed to address both physical and mental tolls related to the incident.