Don’t Delay Medical Treatment After A Car Accident
We all hope we’re never involved in a car accident, but if you find yourself in that unfortunate situation there are important first steps to ensure your safety and well-being, and that of your passengers.
Get Medical Help Right Away
The most important thing to do if you or your passengers are injured is to get help right away. Call 911 immediately and ask for an ambulance and the police.’When the ambulance arrives, use their services and go to the hospital.’ Oftentimes in the aftermath of a crash, people are in shock, or don’t think they are hurt if there is no signs of blood, broken bones or other obvious trauma. Don’t delay getting medical treatment believing you aren’t hurt ‘that badly’ or worry about how much it’s going to cost. Sometimes symptoms do not appear until hours or days later and immediate medical attention is critical.
Immediate medical treatment is essential for two reasons: most importantly, you may put yourself and your health at risk by denying or delaying medical treatment. Secondly, it is important to document the history of your injuries and how you were hurt if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim as a result of your accident. The longer you wait after the accident to seek medical treatment, the more difficult it will be to prove your complaints and injuries are related to the car accident.
Be Specific about your Injuries and Your Pain
When first seen by a healthcare provider at the emergency room or by another medical provider after the accident, be specific about what hurts, where it hurts, and how it hurts. Saying ‘I hurt all over’ does not provide sufficient information to your healthcare provider to treat you properly or to adequately document your history of injury and the resulting problems and pain. Pinpoint exactly where on your body you hurt, and describe your pain in detail.
Follow Through with Follow-Up Medical Treatment
If you need follow-up care after your ER visit, see your treating doctor or a recommended specialist.’If you don’t have a treating doctor, or a specialist who can treat your injuries, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with recommendations for credible doctors whom are not only excellent healers, but also excellent advocates on behalf of their patient when it comes to properly documenting your personal injury claim.
Getting the Most Out of Your Medical Treatment
Your full recovery from your injuries should be your main focus following an accident. Getting the most out of your medical treatment will help you achieve that goal.
- Be honest and do not exaggerate your symptoms.’Not all parts of a medical examination should hurt you and some tests that doctors perform are meant to determine if you are faking an injury.
- Be specific about how your injuries are affecting your life, whether your work and social activities are limited, and how your life has changed before and after your accident.
- Document how you’re feeling and be specific with your doctor about your pain, what it prevents you from doing, and how it is affecting your work, your personal life, your hobbies, your regular activities, and your friendships.
- Make a list of questions to ask your doctor during your appointment and demand answers. It’s easy to forget important questions once the back and forth with the doctor begins.
- Keep all medical appointments and arrive on time.
- Follow your doctor’s advice whether it pertains to medical treatment, physical therapy, time off work, and work and home physical restrictions.
- If you believe the treatment is not helping, let your doctor know you’re not improving as expected. Ask what other options or treatments are available. Some people respond differently to certain types of treatment, and not others. Medical treatment is not ‘one size fits all’ which is why it’s called the ‘practice’ of medicine.
- Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion.’Your doctor should not discourage a second opinion, and if yours does, you may consider finding another doctor.
- Ease back into your physical activities slowly.’Doing too much too soon could cause a setback in your healing process.
- Be patient with your healing process.’Your body needs time and treatment to heal.
- Continue with all recommended medical treatment until your treating doctor releases you.
- Be hopeful that your injury is short-term and work hard at your rehabilitation, but be prepared that you might have a long-term injury.
As you’re going through the process of recovering from your injuries, document all ongoing medical treatment and expenses. It’s also a good idea to keep a journal documenting your pain, and how your personal and work life is affected by your injuries. These both can be important pieces to being fully compensated after a car accident.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
If you decide to pursue a personal injury claim because of your car accident, it is critical to get an experienced attorney working on your behalf. Consultations are almost always free, and an experienced attorney can provide sound advice about your claim.’Insurance companies try to rush claims to conclusion and will try to take advantage of your inexperience with the process so an experienced attorney will be worth the cost. An experienced attorney will know how to handle claims for reimbursement by your health insurer or disability benefits insurer, will consider alternative sources of recovery and other parties whom may also be legally liable for your injuries, and knows how to obtain the monetary compensation you deserve.