Fender Benders Can Cause Injuries Too
Why You Should Always Get A Medical Check-up After A Car Accident
Most of us have been well-trained to stop and exchange insurance information with the other driver after a minor car accident, but many of us have not been given guidance relative to our own medical well-being in such situations. Accidents, by definition, are unexpected, so they result in a certain amount of shock and confusion that often muddles your thinking, so here is some serious advice.
Even in minor incidents, a kind of “triage” has to be done: make sure there are no serious injuries requiring emergency attention; make sure everyone is out of harm’s way; take care to keep any children present. In the heat of the moment, your thoughts may go in many directions: you may be relieved that the accident is not worse; considering who is to blame for the accident; or preoccupied with the damage to your vehicle and how you will pay for it. Yet there is something else you should focus on: whether you have injuries you have not yet become aware of. Once you have been medically checked out, if you do have, or develop, any serious injuries, you should contact a capable, experienced personal injury attorney who will help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Get a Medical Check-Up Promptly
No matter how careful you are to make notations and take photographs of the scene, unless you are examined by a healthcare professional shortly after the accident, you won’t have a paper trail of evidence of any possible injuries you have suffered. A number of personal injuries, even quite serious ones, may not result in symptoms for the first 24 to 48 hours after the accident.
Unless you are checked by a physician and follow up later, the insurance company or at-fault driver may argue that any medical problems you develop after the accident were caused by other, unrelated occurrences. Your legal adversaries may also take the position that your delay in receiving medical treatment contributed to the worsening of your condition. Beyond legal considerations, of course, postponing medical diagnosis and treatment may in fact worsen your pain or disability, or lengthen your recovery time.
Make Sure to Tell the Doctor Everything
It is important to tell the doctor the precise motions your body went through during the accident (insofar as you remember them) since this will give your physician insight into what injuries you may have incurred. Be sure to tell your doctor about every pain you are experiencing since, while some may quickly fade, others may become more intense as time passes.
Some Injuries Are Asymptomatic, at Least at First
Even a common symptom like whiplash may take hours or even days to cause symptoms. Perhaps you can remember developing a bad charlie horse or shin splints a few days after excessive exercise — your post-accident physical response may be similar. According to the Mayo Clinic, the worst symptoms of whiplash frequently take 24 hours to develop. Similarly, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are not always immediately apparent, but after a few days may result in headaches or even personality changes. Other symptoms that may show up later are back pain, abdominal pain, numbness or PTSD. Once your physician has examined you shortly after the accident, he or she will be more clearly able to correlate symptoms that develop later with the trauma your body went through during the accident.
Get Legal, as Well as Medical, Advice Promptly
In the event that you do have physical or psychiatric symptoms that require prolonged or expensive treatment, it is essential that you engage the services of a savvy personal injury attorney who knows how to get you the maximum amount of damages you deserve. It is imperative, therefore, that you consult with a well-reputed personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. Remember, you will not be charged unless the attorney wins your case.
Posted in: Personal Injury