You’ve been in a car accident. You might be hurt, but you can’t tell for sure. What should you do?
The fact is that it is always a good idea to see a doctor. Even if you don’t feel hurt, symptoms for conditions like a traumatic brain injury (tbi) or whiplash can take days to materialize. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start treating your condition, the better.
Obtaining a medical exam as close as possible to the date of the accident is also beneficial. The results of your exam will document your injuries and connect them to the accident in question. Without this connection — or if care is delayed — it may be possible for an insurance provider or defendant to allege that your injuries are not connected to the collision.
As a general rule, always seek out medical care as soon as you can after an accident. If you are hurt, do not hesitate to call an ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital, visit an urgent care, or call your doctor for an appointment. A North Carolina car accident attorney can help you seek repayment for all of your injury costs (including your medical bills) through a liability insurance claim.
Is There a Time Limit for Going to the Doctor After a Car Accident?
If you can, you should go to the doctor immediately after an accident. This will establish a baseline for your accident claim and give a doctor a chance to determine any dangerous medical issues that you might not be aware of. If you don’t see a doctor within a reasonable amount of time following your accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to argue that you were not seriously injured. While there is no official time limit for how long you have to get to a doctor after the accident, the general consensus is the sooner the better.
Be aware that your medical records from your post accident treatment(s) will be brought up in the process of settling your case or during a trial. With this in mind, do make sure to tell your doctor about your accident and make sure that they know that the accident is the cause for your visit and for your injuries. It is important to describe any pain you have felt, limitations in your movements, or other possible symptoms. Don’t comment on the accident itself when it comes to legal issues or fault. Provide only the information the doctor needs to make a thorough diagnosis for your injuries.
Immediately after an accident, you should see an emergency room doctor or an urgent care doctor. If you can get into your general practice doctor within the next few days, this will work just as well.
Your initial care providers may refer you to specialists such as orthopedists for broken bones and other musculoskeletal issues. Also, It is not uncommon for a doctor to recommend chiropractic treatment or physical therapy. In some cases alternative health care like acupuncture may also be an option depending on your injuries.
Car accidents can cause many types of injuries, from soft tissue injuries to broken bones. Some of the most common types of injuries include:
After an accident you may not feel hurt initially. Be sure to look out for delayed symptoms in the days following your accident. These symptoms may be signs of significant problems. Going to the doctor right after the accident allows you to document your injuries and to follow up with your doctor again should you encounter symptoms later. Some of these common delayed symptoms include:
Even if you are feeling better, you should not stop medical care. Stopping medical care against doctor advice will limit or may eliminate your ability to get coverage for the medical care you have received. Always follow through with all recommended medical advice. This is not only helpful for your health, but it also helps your car accident case.
If you have questions or objections regarding a doctor’s treatment plan, voice your concerns to your physician. Have your concerns documented and have your provider suggest alternative treatments. For example, if you object to the use of narcotic pain relief medications, then ask your physician about alternatives, and be sure to follow through with your treatments.
If the accident is not your fault, then the at-fault party’s car insurance should pay your medical bills in the form of a settlement. This settlement will cover all of your past medical treatment costs and projected future costs if you should require ongoing treatments in the future. Once you agree to receive a settlement amount, you typically cannot request additional monies for any future costs. This risk is why it is so essential to work with a seasoned car accident attorney in North Carolina who is capable of helping you evaluate the value of your case.
Prior to a settlement, you may have to pay for your care through your health insurance provider or out-of-pocket. Sometimes providers may agree to delay payment until you receive your settlement. If so, you may have to sign an agreement with the medical provider. This is typically referred to as “treating on a lien.” Make sure you have your accident attorney review this agreement before signing it.
Note that when your health insurance pays for the costs of medical care related to a personal injury accident case (and you later receive a liability insurance settlement), your insurer will sometimes have the right to recover the monies they paid for your accident related care. This depends on the type of health insurance that you have. Your attorney will be able to advise you whether or not this applies to you, so make sure you ask them.
If you or your loved one was injured in a car accident, you should make sure that injuries are treated soon after and consider contacting an experienced accident attorney. The insurance company will likely try to get you to settle quickly because that is good for their bottom line. Remember, the insurance company makes money and stays in business by doing everything they can to undervalue your claim. Signing an agreement before you know how severe your injuries are and before speaking to your attorneys isa bad idea!
Auger & Auger, North Carolina car accident attorneys, can help you with your car accident claim. We guide every client through the claims process and do everything to maximize the potential settlement you may receive.
You can schedule your very own free, confidential, and no-obligation case review when you call 800-559-5741 or contact us online.