An auto accident is a devastating event that can cause catastrophic and fatal injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. In 2015, an estimated 2.44 million people suffered injuries in motor vehicle accidents in the United States. When an accident victim sustains an injury, such a serious cut, burn, or broken bone, they will oftentimes seek medical attention without a moment of hesitation.
However, not all injuries are obvious immediately following a car crash. Although you may feel fine after an accident, you could have underlying injuries that aren’t apparent at the time. Auto accidents are frightening and traumatic experiences, which can cause you to be in shock and feel no pain in the hours that follow. For this reason, it is highly suggested that you see a doctor regardless of how you feel after the accident.
In many cases, injuries from a car wreck are not noticeable until days, weeks, or months afterward. One way to prevent this from happening is to see a doctor as soon as you can following the accident. Medical professionals can provide you with a routine check-up and diagnose you with an injury that may not be obvious to you.
Some of the most commonly overlooked injuries resulting from an auto accident are soft tissue injuries. These injuries refer to damage done to ligaments, muscles, and tendons. The most frequently occurring soft tissue injury in a car accident is whiplash, an injury to the neck caused by a sudden movement of the head. According to the American Chiropractic Association, two out of three people involved in a motor vehicle accidents suffer from whiplash.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
Whiplash can cause muscle strains, minor tissue and nerve damage, ruptured ligaments, and fractured vertebras.
Another injury that may not become apparent until days after an auto accident occurs is a concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can have severe, long-lasting health consequences if left uncared-for. According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of a concussion include:
In severe cases, concussions can result in a fatal brain bleed. It is paramount that a person suffering from a concussion is under continuous monitoring, and if you believe you or a loved one has suffered a serious concussion, seek medical attention immediately.
Find out more about traumatic brain injuries in our blog post: What is a traumatic brain injury?
Delaying medical care is not only dangerous to your personal health but it can negatively affect your insurance claim and potential personal injury case, too. In order to file an injury claim, it is imperative that you have records of medical treatment you received soon after the auto accident. Insurance company claims adjusters oftentimes take into account how long it takes a person to seek treatment following an accident.
When there is a delay in medical care, insurance adjusters will argue that your injury must not have been too severe. Unfortunately, this can have an effect on the amount of compensation that you can receive for your injuries. Documenting the fact that you sustained an injury related to the accident and sought treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible is crucial.
Insurance adjusters may also try to deny your claim if your injury cannot be directly linked to the auto accident. Delaying medical treatment leaves more room for doubt on whether the two are connected. It is in your best interest to see a doctor as soon as possible after an automobile accident to determine if you are injured, how severe your injuries are, and to have documentation of any injuries that you may have sustained.
If you did not take an ambulance to the hospital from the scene of the accident, don’t worry. As mentioned above, you may feel fine after an accident and decide that an ambulance ride is unnecessary. The fact that you didn’t take an ambulance will not negatively affect your injury claim. However, it is important that you seek medical treatment promptly, whether it be later that day, the following day, or a few days after the accident. Remember: the sooner you see a doctor, the better off you will be in terms of your insurance or personal injury claims and your well-being.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends to assist you. We can help ensure that your rights as an accident victim are protected and that the insurance companies are looking after your best interests. Our firm can help set you up with the proper medical treatment that you need and put you inj a position to achieve the maximum amount of compensation available. Call our law offices today for a free legal consultation.