If you have never seen the doctor after a car wreck, it may not be in your best interest to settle your medical claim with the insurance company. When you are hurt or feeling pain, it is possible you may have serious underlying injuries that may require medical attention. Furthermore, when you settle your medical claim, you will never get your future medical cost associated with your auto accident covered by the at fault insurance company.
Maybe you went to the ER, had some Xray’s done, and they release you. Maybe they tell you to do a follow-up with your primary care or even give you a business card with a doctor’s name on it. You have an ER bill, and the insurance company may want to try and reach you as quickly as they can, to settle that bill. Should you, do it?
Why you should never settle a medical claim before seeing a doctor.
It is possible you may feel fine after your car wreck, your injuries may not appear or present themselves right away. Delayed onset of injury is very possible in an auto accident injury. You may feel fine right after the accident, but days or weeks later you may feel pain and discomfort.
What are delayed Injuries?
A delayed injury refers to an injury or damage to the body that becomes evident or symptomatic after a significant period following the initial incident. Unlike immediate injuries, which are readily apparent and cause symptoms right after the event, delayed injuries may not manifest until hours, days, or even weeks later. The delay in symptoms can sometimes make it challenging to identify the exact cause of the injury, as it may not be immediately evident.
There are several reasons why delayed injuries might occur:
1. Inflammation: Sometimes, the body may not respond immediately to an injury, and the inflammatory process might take time to develop, leading to delayed symptoms.
2. Internal injuries: Injuries to internal organs or tissues may not cause immediate symptoms because there are no pain receptors in these areas. Over time, as inflammation or damage progresses, symptoms can appear.
3. Adrenaline and shock: In certain situations, such as during accidents or traumatic events, the body releases adrenaline, which can temporarily mask pain or other symptoms. Once the adrenaline wears off, the injury’s effects may become apparent.
4. Neural damage: Nerve injuries may take time to develop symptoms, as nerves can take a while to transmit signals to the brain, especially if the damage is subtle.
Examples of delayed injuries include whiplash after a car accident, delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after intense physical activity, certain types of head injuries, and some occupational injuries.
Not knowing the extent of your injuries
Not knowing the extent of your injuries” is indeed a common situation that can occur after an accident or traumatic event. It is related to the concept of delayed injuries. When someone experiences a sudden impact or trauma, they may not immediately be aware of the full extent of their injuries due to various reasons:
Shock and adrenaline:
The body’s natural response to a traumatic event is often the release of adrenaline, which can temporarily mask pain and other symptoms. This can create a sense of numbness or disconnection from the actual injuries.
Initial focus on primary injuries:
In the aftermath of an accident, individuals may be more aware of obvious injuries or those causing significant pain. This initial focus on primary injuries may cause them to overlook or downplay other injuries that are less noticeable at the time.
Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or organ damage, may not show immediate external signs. Without proper medical evaluation, these injuries can go unnoticed until symptoms manifest or worsen over time.
As mentioned earlier, some injuries may have delayed-onset symptoms, meaning that the signs of injury may not become apparent until hours, days, or even weeks after the event.
Given these possibilities, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly after an accident or any event that may have caused trauma. Even if you feel fine initially, a medical evaluation can help identify any underlying injuries that may not be immediately evident. Early detection and treatment of injuries can prevent complications and promote a faster recovery. Always prioritize your health and well-being by seeking professional medical care when in doubt about your condition after an accident.
Some common injuries that may not manifest themselves right away after a car accident
- Back Pain
- Fuzzy Thinking
- Inability to Concentrate
- Neck Pain
- Sleeping a lot
Has the insurance company offered you money before you even see a doctor after a car accident? Don’t Settle
Insurance adjusters are saving the insurance company money for their stockholders. Insurance companies are not in the business of paying out thousands of dollars in medical claims without a fight. No matter what you think of them, they are doing their job.
However, they are not paid to look after your best interest. Adjusters may try to give you a check without you knowing what the check is really for. They also may offer you a quick settlement for your pain and suffering. And the medical bills before you even step foot in a doctor’s office or the ER.
If you are fine today, you may be hurting tomorrow. We have seen this happen many times. Someone will think they are fine after an accident and not seek medical care, only to call us several days later and state that they are in pain and hurt and need to see a doctor. Insurance Companies, even your own, are not going to look after you, they will look after the bottom line. Before accepting any checks from the insurance company, see the doctor and speak with a personal injury lawyer.
Checks from Insurance Companies
I have personally seen insurance companies write checks out to injured parties. They do this in the hopes they will deposit the funds or cash the check. I’ve also seen insurance companies send people money and tell them it’s for their lost work or aggravation. If you read the fine print on the check though, it may be a different story, you may have just settled your medical claim.
The adjuster was nice and seemed genuinely concerned.
Adjusters may seem to be nice and on your side. It is possible they are being nice to collect information from you about how you are feeling and the extent of your injuries. The may offer you a settlement before they even look at your car for injuries that you may or may not have. In some cases people do take what the adjuster is offering only later to find out that the their injuries have gotten worse requiring medical treatment.
Adjusters have been known to issue a check for lost wages or time, beware of this practice, they may disguise this as a payment for lost wages, but in reality, it is a settlement check for your injury and pain and suffering. If an adjuster has sent you a check and you don’t fully understand what the check is for, contact a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney will be able to clarify what the check is for and what course of action you should take.
Don’t settle your medical claim without seeing a doctor first.
Seeing a doctor first after you have been involved in a car wreck. This may be the single most important thing you could do. If you are hurt, you can get medical care right away to limit your time of recovery. However, the longer you wait to see a doctor the longer your recovery could take. Underlying injuries and whiplash may not manifest themselves right away.
Furthermore, it could be days or in some cases weeks before you may feel the effects of these injuries. Make sure you see a accident doctor or at least speak with one before you accept any settlement from the adjuster for your injuries.