Determining whether to seek medical treatment after an accident is one of the most important decisions in a personal injury claim. Treatment by a medical professional serves as documented proof of your injuries. If you are injured, especially when there is immediate pain or loss of consciousness, or if you feel that something isn’t right or normal, you should consider getting checked out by a medical professional. However, it is important to monitor your body for some time after the accident as well, as all injuries are not immediately apparent and some can be become apparent later.
Things to consider when determining whether to seek medical treatment after an accident:
1. Ask yourself: A) Am I injured? B) What is the degree of my injuries? C) Do I require medical treatment for my injuries?
2. You should self-assess, consider any signs of injury and degree of pain, and determine whether medical treatment is necessary.
3. Take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the accident, but, when in doubt, it is always a good idea to seek medical treatment.
4. You may weigh the necessity of going to the emergency room to seek medical treatment versus waiting to seek treatment. However, it is generally a good idea to err on the side of caution and at the very least get checked out by your primary care physician or the nearest urgent care center.
If you feel your injuries are severe, significant or even life-threatening, please seek medical treatment immediately. If you don’t feel safe driving, have a friend or family member take you to the emergency room or have an ambulance transport you. The ideal time frame in which you should seek medical attention is within 48 hours of an accident. The longer you wait after an accident and allow for a lapse in time, the more difficult it may become to prove that your injuries were sustained in the accident. For more information on the importance of seeking medical treatment and how lapses in treatment can affect your claim, please read our article on Seeking Medical Treatment.
Once you have made the decision to seek medical treatment, remember to communicate effectively with your doctor regarding your injuries and symptoms. Be clear and concise in describing the event in a manner that provides enough information to your doctor. Providing information that is outside the realm of treatment, such as how the collision occurred or who was at fault, is not required as it does not aid in the treatment of your injuries.
If you are on the fence about seeing a doctor after an accident, keep in mind that this decision can affect the outcome of any personal injury claim that you may have. You could damage your chances at being able to provide evidence that your injuries were in fact caused by the accident. This is turn may decrease your opportunity for adequate compensation for your injuries. Therefore, when in doubt about seeking medical treatment, it is encouraged that you err on the side of caution and get checked out by a doctor.