Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

Getting in a car accident is a traumatic event regardless of whether it's a catastrophic collision or a tiny fender bender. There's a lot of force involved when your vehicle hits or gets hit, by something. All too often, people in car accidents choose not to seek medical attention because they don't feel as if they're injured. Even if you don't feel as if you're injured, it's still important that you seek medical attention immediately after an accident. Waiting to make an appointment with your physician or putting it off because you don't want to spend the time or money at the doctor could lead to even more problems and could make it difficult to file a personal injury lawsuit.

What If I Don't Feel Injured?

When athletes are injured in a game, oftentimes they continue to play without feeling any sort of pain. This is because their bodies are releasing adrenaline and endorphins, which supercharge their bodies and block the pain.

Most car accidents will create a similarly heightened level of excitement. After an accident, your body will generate adrenaline and endorphins, giving you increased energy and even a lack of pain. Even though you may feel fine immediately following a car accident, you may not actually be fine. Once the adrenaline and endorphins subside, the pain from your injuries will start to set in. 

Common Car Accident Injuries

Two of the most common injuries as a result of a car accident are soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, and concussions. Car accidents, even ones at low speeds, generate a lot of force. This can cause a significant amount of stress on your joints. Soft tissue injuries often result in pain, swelling, and reduced mobility, but these symptoms don't always show up right away, and they're not visible on an x-ray. This makes it even harder to diagnose and document, especially if you don't see a doctor right after the accident.

Concussions are another common car accident injury. If you strike your head or if your head is violently jolted, your brain may strike the inside of your skull, causing a concussion. Concussions can be very serious, and like soft tissue injuries, the symptoms don't always show up immediately, making it even more important to see a doctor.

Why You Should Seek Medical Attention

Even if you don't feel any pain or discomfort after a car accident, you should still see a doctor. A doctor is in the best position to determine whether you sustained any injuries during your accident. They'll also be able to give you advice on how to monitor the symptoms of any potential injuries and any red flags to watch out for.

If you decide to file a personal injury claim after an accident, you'll need to be able to prove that you sought medical treatment within a reasonable amount of time. The best way to ensure this is to see a doctor right after your accident. If you wait too long, the insurance company and its counsel will try to argue that you weren't injured. Additionally, waiting to see a doctor will make it harder to prove that the injuries you sustained were a direct result of the accident.

You should always wait until you have been fully examined by a doctor before signing anything an insurance adjuster puts in front of you. It's also important that you wait long enough to make sure that all injuries from the car accident have fully manifested themselves, as some injuries take longer to show up than others. If you sign a release and another injury shows up later, you won't be able to go back to the insurance company and ask them to pay for the medical treatment.

If you suffered significant injuries during a car accident, or if you want to ensure that the claims process goes smoothly, the best thing you can do is to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney.