Dealing with the aftermath of an accident, no matter how minor, can be a stressful and sometimes disorienting experience. Often times, the injuries may seem so minor that seeking immediate medical attention ends up being the furthest thing from your mind. However, not seeing your doctor immediately after an accident could hurt your injury claim in more ways than one.
Regardless of how minor the collision, you should always see your physician within 72 hours of the accident. The following explains the importance of seeking medical attention immediately after any accident.
The After-Effects Can Take Time to Appear
Injuries don't always show up immediately. It can take days, weeks, or even longer for certain traumatic injuries to manifest themselves. Injuries involving muscles, tendons, and ligaments, for example, can take hours to develop. As a result, what initially seems like a mild case of whiplash can progress into serious neck and head pain days or weeks later.
Many accident victims initially feel fine prior to the delayed onset of pain and soreness, leading them to turn down immediate post-accident medical attention at a critical juncture of their recovery. Some may even believe that their injuries will get better with the passage of time. As a result, victims often seek medical attention only when severe, unavoidable pain sets in—sometimes long after the accident has taken place.
Time is always of the essence when it comes to treatment for accident injuries. By seeking immediate care, your physician can check for and, most importantly, document any signs of delayed injuries. Your physician can take proactive steps towards treatment, increasing your chances of recovery.
Seeing a Physician Provides Crucial Documentation
The amount of paperwork needed to carry out a personal injury claim following an accident can seem staggering to recent victims. Nevertheless, this paperwork is absolutely necessary for proving the existence of your injuries, regardless of how minor they seem. Having the proper documentation can mean the difference between a successful settlement and a long, drawn-out battle with few prospects for victory.
Even when faced with very minor injuries, insurance companies still demand properly documented proof that those injuries exist. The only way you'll get valid documentation of those injuries is if you see your physician as soon as the accident occurs. Otherwise you'll have a difficult time proving to the judge, jury, and insurance companies that your injuries not only exist, but that they occurred as a direct result of the accident.
Your Claim Will Have More Credibility
One common tactic insurance companies use to fight against personal injury claims involves damaging the plaintiff's credibility. Any delay in seeking medical treatment or failure to seek treatment at all could be interpreted by insurance companies as a clear admission that your injuries aren't serious enough to merit fair monetary compensation.
Without the proper medical documentation at your disposal, insurance companies can also argue that your injuries were the result of a previous accident. Failure to show up for medical appointments can also have the same negative impact on your personal injury claim. Having several "no show" entries in your medical records could call your commitment towards getting better into question.
Seeking immediate medical attention from your physician or urgent care provider gives your personal injury claim a stronger basis, giving you a better chance of being fairly compensated for your medical expenses and other damages.
Don't forget that honesty is always the best policy when answering your physician's questions concerning your current and previous injuries. Providing complete, accurate information not only helps doctors make a more accurate diagnosis, but it also strengthens your credibility and increases your chances of getting a fair award or settlement for your injuries.
For more information, contact a law firm like Wolfe Jones Wolfe Hancock Daniel & South LLC.