An auto accident is a sudden and traumatizing event for drivers and passengers that can leave you dazed and confused. As your mind slowly begins to process what just happened, fear and anxiety may affect your ability to make decisions, including assessing whether or not you need medical attention.
Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may not believe a trip to an emergency department or a doctor’s office is necessary. You may be a little sore, but in your thoughts, other matters require your immediate attention, such as notifying your insurance company or arranging to get your car repaired; but putting off going to the doctor may jeopardize your health as well as impair your right to be compensated by the party whose negligent or reckless behavior caused the accident.
Unlike a statute of limitations that places a limit on the amount of time you have to retain a personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit for damages, the law does not tell you how long you have to see a doctor after an accident. The following information may convince you of the importance of getting to a doctor as soon as possible after an accident.
Serious injuries may have delayed symptoms
The other driver ignored a stop sign, crashed into your car, and sent it spinning across an intersection. You walked away from the accident without a scratch, so you may be wondering why your auto accident lawyer wants you to be examined by a doctor.
Your lawyer knows that symptoms of an injury may not become apparent right away. Common injuries from car accidents that may have delayed symptoms include the following:
- Whiplash: A rear-end crash or a collision that causes sudden and rapid neck movement may injure muscles, ligaments, discs, and nerves in the neck and back that may not produce symptoms right away. However, a whiplash injury can cause pain, decreased range of motion, dizziness, and other chronic symptoms.
- Internal injuries: Injuries may cause internal bleeding and other damage that may not be visible or perceived by you through symptoms appearing immediately after a collision.
- Brain trauma: Traumatic brain injury, including concussions, may not exhibit symptoms right away, or you may have only a headache and refuse medical care. A TBI can cause serious neurological impairment unless immediately diagnosed and treated.
It is better to accept the offer from emergency medical personnel to be taken by ambulance for an evaluation of your injuries or, at the very least, have a medical evaluation done by your own doctor after leaving the accident scene. If your doctor is not available, an urgent care clinic or emergency department of a local hospital can conduct an examination and recommend a course of treatment.
Minor damage to your car may cause a serious physical injury
The impact of the other vehicle crashing into your car did not cause serious damage, so you do not go to the doctor right away even though you do not feel quite right after the accident. You may not recall bumping your head during the crash, but you could have suffered an injury to the brain.
An accident that causes your car to suddenly decelerate can cause an injury to the brain even though no outward evidence of trauma exists. The force of a collision or rapid deceleration of your car may cause your brain to move about within your skull and cause a traumatic brain injury.
Symptoms that you suffered an injury to the brain may at first appear as a headache and blurred or fuzzy vision, but the full extent of the damage may not become apparent until the development of other symptoms days or even months later. You should be immediately seen by a doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms after an accident:
- A headache that does not subside or gets worse.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Impaired coordination.
- Numbness or weakness.
- Slurred speech.
- Confusion and agitation.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Seizures or convulsions.
A concussion, which is a mild form of traumatic brain injury, may heal on its own over time, but you should be seen by a doctor for a proper diagnosis to rule out a blood clot or other serious conditions. Repeated injuries to the brain may cause long-term cognitive or neurological disorders.
A visit to your doctor protects your claim as well as your health
Going to a doctor for an evaluation within a day or two of an auto accident protects your health by avoiding serious injuries from going undetected. It also protects your claim for damages against the driver responsible for the accident by establishing a connection between the accident and the injuries you suffered.
Medical records provide evidence supporting your claim for damages. The results of an examination performed by a doctor within a short time after an accident can be persuasive evidence linking the collision and the negligence of the other driver to the injuries you suffered.
A New York personal injury attorney can help
You have a right to be compensated when injured in an auto accident caused by the reckless or negligent behavior of another party. Protect that right by retaining the services of an auto accident lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel Berger. Schedule a free consultation by calling (855) 444-7024 or arrange a consultation by visiting our website.