Going to the hospital is one of the most important things you can do after a car accident. This is true even if you don’t think that you’ve been injured badly in the crash. In fact, it may be even more important to go if you think you’re okay. Why? There are three primary reasons.
Three Reasons You Need to See a Doctor Immediately After an Accident
First, if left untreated, injuries can pose a serious threat to your health and safety. Going to the doctor right away will help to rule out any internal injuries that wouldn’t have been able to identify on your own. Your doctor can make sure that you get the medical treatment you need to keep you safe.
Second, going to the hospital will help to establish a link between the accident and your injuries. You’re only entitled to recover compensation for injuries that were caused by your accident. According to Boris Lavent, a car accident lawyer, “Getting your injuries documented right away will help to strengthen the argument that they were a result of the crash.” Lavent added, “The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more vulnerable your claim begins.” The defendant may argue that there’s no hard evidence to show that the accident caused your injuries. A medical evaluation completed shortly after your accident will help to support your case.
Third, seeing a doctor for an assessment will help to show that you took reasonable steps to identify your injuries after the accident. This is important, because some injuries may not be evident right away. In fact, you may think that you’re perfectly fine until days, weeks, or months later when you begin to experience symptoms.
In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit for damages after an accident. What happens if you don’t realize that you’ve been injured until the deadline to file has come and gone? Delayed discovery of your injuries could allow you to file a lawsuit after the initial statute of limitations has expired. However, it’s important to note that you must have failed to discover the injury despite reasonable efforts to do so.
Car Accident Injuries That May Not Show Up Right Away
Some car accident injuries will be very obvious after an accident. You’ll probably know that you’ve broken a bone or dislocated a joint. However, other injuries may not be clear to you right away. In fact, you may not even begin to experience symptoms until long after the accident.
Soft Tissue Injury: Soft tissue injuries involve damage to the muscle, tendons, and/or ligaments. This can include bruising, sprains, strains, and whiplash. That’s right. Whiplash, one of the most common car accident injuries, is a soft tissue injury that often goes unnoticed right away. It’s important to keep an eye out for any common signs of a soft tissue injury, including limited mobility, painful movement, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and swelling.
Head Injury: Sometimes car accident victims will not know that they’ve suffered a serious head injury. This is particularly true if the victim did not seek medical attention after their accident. It’s also easy to dismiss the symptoms of a head injury. A victim may simply believe that their discomfort is normal or brought on by stress. In truth, however, signs of a head injury likely indicate that you have a head injury. Seek medical attention immediately if you begin to experience headaches, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, difficulty speaking, limited mobility, unexplained anger or irritability, or seizures.
Emotional Trauma: You’re not only at risk of suffering physical injuries in a car accident. Victims, particularly those involved in violent crashes, can experience severe emotional trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is incredibly common after an accident. However, the signs and symptoms of PTSD often take time to manifest. A victim may not truly identify the extent of their trauma until long after the accident. Signs of PTSD may include guilt, loneliness, withdrawal from social activities, hostility and agitation, insomnia, and flashbacks.
Back Injury: A car accident can be very violent. Your body can be subjected to extreme shock and trauma. This can pose a threat to your back and spine. However, you may not notice that you’ve suffered a back injury until the accident is in your rearview mirror. Back injuries can, and often do, become worse over time. It’s important to make sure that your injury is treated promptly. See a doctor if you experience a loss of mobility or begin to experience swelling, bruising, or pain in the back.
When you’re injured in a car accident you may have the right to recover compensation. You can maximize your financial award by supporting your case with as much evidence as possible. Medical records and reports can be incredibly persuasive when your attorney is at the negotiating table. Take the time to see a doctor after your accident. You’ll be able to keep yourself safe and strengthen your legal case at the same time.