Should You Seek Medical Care Immediately After a Car Accident?
Many of our clients have not experienced significant pain immediately after a collision. There is a strong temptation to take a “wait and see” approach. However, if you have been involved in a car accident and you believe you might be injured, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. I recommend that people receive medical attention on the same day as the accident. Prompt medical treatment is important for your health and a possible personal injury claim.
1. Your health is most important
The highest priority after an accident is making sure that you and any others are okay. If you are hurt, get medical help and do not wait. The longer you wait, the longer your injuries remain untreated, and the worse it can be for your body. There are common accident injuries (e.g., whiplash) that may be difficult for you to identify. A medical professional can diagnose injuries you might not know you have. If you are involved in a collision in which any of the cars were traveling faster than 15 mph, immediately see a medical provider to get checked out even if you do not feel any immediate pain.
2. How does medical care affect your personal injury claim?
In order to pursue a personal injury claim, you must show that your injuries were caused by the accident and not something else (this is called “proximate cause”). The longer you wait to see a doctor, the easier it is for the other driver and the insurance company to argue that something else caused your injuries. I recommend that you see a doctor before consulting with an attorney. When insurance companies discover that the injured person went to an attorney before seeing a doctor, it does not look good.
3. Insurance companies view delays and gaps in treatment as weaknesses in your claim
Insurance companies are always looking for opportunities to criticize your injuries and treatment. They understand the concept of proximate cause. If you do not see a doctor immediately, the insurance company will ask why you waited, and the insurance representative will argue that your injuries are not as bad as you claim because you did not go to the doctor immediately. Moreover, with some exceptions, if there are gaps of more than 1-2 weeks in your treatment, the insurance adjuster will take the position that you were not very injured.
4. Treatment is necessary for settlement
You can experience tremendous pain after an accident, but it does not matter to the insurance companies if there is no resulting medical or chiropractic care. In most cases, clients should complete their treatment before the attorney attempts to negotiate a settlement of the claim. It is important to get medical treatment started so that you can be discharged as soon as possible and resolve your claim.
The Law Office of Shiloh K. Hoggard, P.L.L.C., represents clients who have been injured by car accidents, slip and falls, and the misconduct of others. We aim to be the first choice for those who need a personal injury attorney in Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Cornville, Camp Verde, Rimrock, Sedona, and the Village of Oak Creek.