Importance of Seeking Care After an Auto Accident
Being involved in an automobile accident can be a traumatic and frightening event. A person’s health should be the first and foremost consideration after an auto accident so anyone involved in a crash should seek the attention of a physician. Only a qualified physician can ascertain the severity of the victim’s injuries and, after a thorough examination, advise the person of treatment options. Delaying the attention of a physician after an auto accident can severely impede the patient’s recovery in addition to being detrimental to the patient’s personal injury claim.
Not all accident victims need emergency medical services
It is important that victims of auto accidents who are severely injured seek emergency medical assistance. In these cases the injuries are obvious and emergency medical treatment is unavoidable. However, what happens to the victim of vehicle crash who is not severely injured and who does not request medical attention? Most of the time this person goes home believing any minor aches and pains will go away in a few days, but this is not always the case. When the pain becomes severe and persistent or when other symptoms present themselves, the person is faced with the decision to continue to hope the pain will go away or seek the attention of a qualified physician. In either case the patient might realize the consequence on not seeking immediate care.
Anyone involved in an auto accident should seek immediate care from a physician. Waiting to seek care could result in significant consequences. Over 50% of people with chronic neck pain can attribute their initial injury to an automobile accident. If a victim of an auto accident does not seek appropriate care immediately after a crash it is likely those pains will eventually progress to a chronic problem. Additionally a delay in care after a crash can potentially harm the victims personal injury claim. Insurance companies have been known for using a delay in care as a reason for denying or fighting a claim.
Always Follow Up with a Physician for Additional Diagnostic Testing
In some auto accidents, EMS will transport the victims to the emergency department for treatment. Unless the injury is severe or life threatening, the staff in the emergency department will provide limited treatment and likely recommend the victim follow up with their primary care physician or a specialist. It is very important that the injured person follow through with this recommendation as instructed. Missing appointments or not following instructions by physicians is just the information insurance companies are searching for to use against the injured person to reduce payments on a claim or to deny a claim.
Another reason to follow up with a physician after an injury is because there may be hard-to-diagnose, subtle injuries that may not present with symptoms for several days following the accident. In many case, accident victims will mistake these symptoms as being a less serious condition and ignore them. Instead, it is vital that the injured person follow up with a physician for additional diagnostic testing to diagnose the condition.
Some Common Injuries That May Take Longer to Diagnose Include but are Not Limited to:
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Closed Brain Injuries
- Neck and Back Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
By seeking attention, the accident victim allows the physician to detect hard-to-notice signs of more serious, life-altering injuries. In some cases, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk for permanent disabilities.
How Can Seeking Treatment Affect a Personal Injury Claim
In an auto accident, the accident victim can only receive compensation for damages actually incurred from the accident; therefore, a personal injury attorney must be able to prove that the victim has suffered damages. Having medical records as evidence is an important element of a personal injury claim. Wither the medical evidence to substantiate a claim, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove damages in an auto accident.
In order for an insurance company or a jury to take an accident victim’s injuries seriously, the victim must take his or her injuries seriously by obtaining treatment and following the doctor’s orders. A person’s health and well-being depend on that person receiving proper care just as the success of a personal injury claim depends on medical evidence to prove the claims. The insurance company will not just take the word of an accident victim they will want evidence to back up the injured persons claims. We can expect the same from a jury, if a case goes that far. If the accident victim does not seek attention, there is no way for an insurance company or jury to know the extent of that person’s injuries.
Insurance Companies Look for Ways to Lower Settlement Claims
The insurance company for the liable party looks for any excuse to deny lower the value of an injury claim. When an accident victim delays treatment, the insurance company may use that as “evidence” that the injuries were either not sustained in the auto accident or the injuries became more severe due to the delay in treatment. In either case, the insurance company will argue that it is not liable for the full extent of the accident victim’s injuries because the person contributed to the injury by delaying treatment. An accident victim who does not seek attention after an auto accident is giving the insurance company reasons for denying the claim or reducing the amount of compensation offered for the claim.
Have You Been Injured in an Auto Accident?
If you have been injured in an auto accident, protect your health and protect your right to hold the at-fault party accountable for you injuries by seeking immediate care. Physicians and attorneys are here to protect your best interests. Help them by doing your part to take of yourself after an accident. If you have any questions about care after an auto accident we are here to help, give us a call.