Can I Wait To Get Medical Treatment After A Car Accident?
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Oftentimes, accident victims internally minimize their injuries in the hope that nothing is wrong. However, even if you do not believe you are seriously injured or think that your injuries do not require immediate treatment, you should seek medical care as soon after an accident as possible.
Understanding Possible Injuries
A car accident is traumatic to your entire body. While some injuries are immediately apparent (i.e. broken bones or bruises), others are not. Injuries to the neck, spine, and brain can go unnoticed in the aftermath of a car accident.
Many times accident victims worry about being perceived as making a big deal out of nothing (especially in low impact crashes). Ignoring warning signs like numbness and tingling in your arms and legs, loss of strength in your hands, trouble holding items (i.e. coffee mugs) and trouble balancing can have dangerous repercussions. The only way to ensure that you do not have a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, is to be assessed by a qualified medical professional.
Following a car accident, most people will experience increased adrenaline as a result of their fight-or-flight response being activated. Adrenaline blocks pain signals to the brain, meaning that we are less able to perceive pain in this state. While many people report “delayed” pain following a car accident, what they are usually describing is the adrenaline wearing off. In other words, the pain isn’t new, our awareness of it is. This is another reason to see a doctor right after an accident – we cannot always trust our own pain signals. Additionally, soft tissue injuries, including whiplash and injuries to the neck and spine can take days to become fully apparent.
Waiting Can Negatively Impact Your Claim
In addition to the high physical risk of postponing a medical assessment following a car accident, any delay in receiving treatment can have a negative impact on your claim. Insurance adjusters are trained to offer low settlement amounts. Insurance adjusters work for private companies who are in the business of making money. The longer you wait to receive medical treatment, the more leverage it gives them to try to assert that your injuries were not serious or fabricated. One of the most popular defenses used by insurance adjusters is that if your injury was really serious you would have sought treatment right away, because someone who believes they are seriously injured would not wait days to see a doctor.
Additionally, it is oftentimes best to make your initial appointment with a chiropractor or pain management doctor (physiatrist) for your pain as opposed to waiting to see your primary doctor. It may take days, if not weeks, to get an appointment with your primary. You can usually make an appointment with a chiropractor within 1-3 days. When in doubt, make an appointment with both doctors.
There is No Downside to Getting Treatment Sooner
As well as strengthening your claim and providing relief for your pain, your medical bills will be covered through your auto insurance (PIP coverage). PIP covers 80% of your first $10,000.00 in medical bills provided you receive treatment within 14 days of the accident. If you have any questions about PIP, please call us.
Talk to Lyons & Snyder Trial Attorneys
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Coral Springs personal injury lawyers at Lyons & Snyder to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you get the settlement you deserve. There’s no fee unless you win. Call today.