If you have been involved in auto accident, the first thing you should do is to get checked out by a qualified doctor. Seeking immediate medical care will help you know if your injuries are serious or minor. Moreover, delays in treatment could be used against you by the insurance company, and may lead to additional pain and suffering. Not to mention, in states that provide PIP coverage, if you wait too long to see a doctor, you may find yourself paying for the medical bills.
Documentation is your best defense after a car accident. We recommend taking pictures of everything at the scene of the car wreck, and make sure to get a copy of the accident report. You cannot have too much documentation. After all, your personal injury claim will be largely determined by the extent of your injuries and the treatment required.
Should I go to the ER after my accident?
You should get checked out by a doctor immediately following any bus, bike, slip and fall or automobile accident. If you cannot find a good accident doctor in your area, then you may need to go to the Emergency Room. Going to Emergency Room may seem like a waste of time to some people. However, the ER is well equipped to diagnose severe injuries using X-Ray, MRI, CT scans and other imaging. More importantly, the ER will document your injuries to help satisfy the insurance company and help support your personal injury claim.
Make sure to tell the ER that your injuries are due to an automobile accident. There have been some cases where the injured party did not let the doctor know how they were injured. Car accident cases use what is called third party billing which includes automobile insurance, PIP, Med Pay, No Fault and letters of protection from an injury attorney. Whereas, most ER Doctors will commonly treat both accident and non-accident patients.
How soon should I get checked out after my car accident?
Many PIP states have a maximum time limit for receiving treatment after a serious collision. We generally recommend seeking medical care within 72 hours both to prevent additional injuries but also to help support your personal injury claim. The insurance company will watch those first few weeks closely to see if you seek treatment. Patients who do not seek treatment after a car accident are generally not seriously injured, and therefore do not require extensive treatment.
Keep in mind that many patients will delay treatment in the hopes that their injuries will simply go away with time, rest and a few pain relievers. However, this belief is likely false as many accident injuries are considered soft tissue damage. Whiplash and many soft tissue injuries can take several days or even weeks to feel, and can lead to long-term pain if not properly treated. Delays and gaps in treatment put your health and recovery at risk, and could damage your injury case.
Should I get an attorney before seeking medical care after my automobile accident?
Many states will require you to use an attorney after any car accident. Non-PIP states generally require a Letter of Protection to pay for medical expenses. A LOP basically guarantees payment for any medical services provided. Payments will happen when a settlement is reached on your personal injury case, which is commonly handled by an Injury Attorney. A LOP can be viewed as a lien that the Doctor holds against a portion of the settlement funds received for the accident.
In general, we recommend asking your Doctor about the pros and cons of using an attorney after any auto accident. Every state varies for injury claims, and your Doctor will help you distinguish between a good and bad attorney. Moreover, your Doctor and attorney will work together throughout the case. Having a good relationship between your Doctor and attorney can help expedite your case.
Should I still seek treatment if I don’t feel pain?
The simple answer is YES! You should seek immediate medical care after any accident for several reasons. One, your body is in a weakened state after any accident. This makes you vulnerable to additional injuries and permanent damage if not properly treated. Two, documentation is paramount to any accident to help satisfy the insurance company and to help support your personal injury claim.
Moreover, whiplash and many other accident injuries are considered soft tissue damage. Soft tissue injuries can take days or even weeks or feel, and can lead to long-term damage if left untreated. Proper treatment and documentation of your injuries is the best way to speed up your recovery while supporting your personal injury claim.
Common symptoms after a car accident might be:
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Tingling sensation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Shoulder Pain
- Arm Pain
- Leg Pain
- Difficulty Sleeping
- contusions (bruising)
- Muscle Weakness
Ask the Doctor Questions before getting checked out
When first getting checked out for an auto accident, make sure that the Doctor accepts third party billing before accepting treatment. As mentioned, third party billing is a generally used term to describe all accident payment options. Many Doctors, including most family PCPs, will not accept third party billing for treatment.
Next, assume that your Doctor knows nothing and ask questions. Knowing is better than not. Every accident is different and many injuries require specialized medical care. We see people who shy away from asking questions or explaining their medical and pain needs. Patients oftentimes believe that doctors are unapproachable, which couldn’t be more false. Doctors are there to help and would happily welcome any questions you have.
You can never ask too many questions when you have an auto related injury. Be informed about the medical decisions. Make sure that everything is correct. We see too many gaps in treatment and people who don’t follow the doctor’s advice. Delays and gaps in treatment could end up costing your money in the long-term. See a doctor ASAP if you have been hurt in a car accident. If we do not have a doctor listed in your area, Contact us.