Every day in the U.S., approximately 6,438 drivers and passengers are injured in car crashes. Another 102 or so are killed in car crashes. Car accidents occur all the time, but when you’re in one, panic takes over and often keeps you from rationally thinking about what you need to do.
One thing that people overlook is the importance of a trip to the hospital after a car accident. Some worry about the cost. Remember that auto insurance pays for medical care after a car accident. Don’t let that keep you from seeking medical care. You may feel okay and think it’s a waste of time and money. It’s always best to go to a hospital, and here’s why.
There May Be Hidden Injuries
When you’re in a car crash, your adrenaline is flowing. It can mask any pain or injuries you have. If there’s visible blood, it’s apparent you need medical attention. If there’s no noticeable pain and no blood, you can be easily fooled to think you’re fine. The fact is you might not be. Internal injuries are possible following a car accident. They can be hard to spot if you’re not medically trained.
Head injuries especially can be tricky things. You may feel fine after the accident. Hours or days later, you’re not. If you think it can’t happen to you, take a look back at the accident Liam Neeson’s wife was in in 2009.
Actress Natasha Richardson fell while skiing on a beginner’s slope at a resort outside of Montreal, Canada. Her fall seemed minor. She felt fine and told multiple paramedics that she didn’t need to go to a hospital. She refused to go, signed a waiver, and went back to her room. Hours later, she had a headache and didn’t feel right. This time, she was taken by ambulance to the local hospital. It turned out her fall caused internal bleeding in her brain that lead to her death a couple of days later.
If you go to the hospital, even if you feel fine, x-rays, CT scans, and other diagnostic tests can spot problems you don’t feel. If you have internal injuries, these tools can find the bleeds and save your life. If there are head or neck injuries, they can be treated as quickly as possible.
It Can Help You Avoid Insurance Denials
It takes time for some injuries, such as whiplash, to appear. Say you’re in a car accident and deny the paramedics’ urges to go to the hospital to get checked out. Days later, your neck hurts and whiplash is diagnosed. You may find yourself fighting with insurance companies over who is paying for what. You said you were fine and refused care.
Days later you’re looking for care and expect the auto insurance company to cover the bills. They may balk as they don’t know what you’ve done between the time of the accident and the time you actually go to the hospital.
You Have a Paper Trail Linking Medical Issues to the Accident
If you see a doctor in a hospital, you have the proof that you sought medical attention. That doctor will also tell you about injuries that may appear as the adrenaline wears off. If the symptoms appear days or weeks later, you’ve already seen a doctor and can link the appearance of those injuries to the doctor’s notes on what signs and symptoms to watch for.
The doctor’s report will also cover things like how much time you need to take off. If you have minor injuries, you may still find the bruises and muscle pain make it hard to sit at a desk all day. Insurance will pay for your lost wages if you can prove you are out of work due to the car accident.
Seek Medical Care and Talk to a Lawyer
In a stressed moment, you may not be thinking clearly. Adrenaline can do that. Just remember that after any car accident, you need to go to the hospital first and call an attorney second. If you’re okay at the scene, you can try to remember to get photos of the area and any vehicles involved in the crash. Don’t make that your focus. Make sure your health comes first.
KJT Law Group has the experience and determination to see your case through. We offer free case evaluations to help you decide if the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair. Call us at (818) 873-0181 to discuss your situation with an experienced car accident attorney.