Don’t Leave Medical Attention Off Your Accident Checklist
You’ve been in a car accident, and suddenly a million things are weighing on your mind. An accident checklist will help you remember there are clear steps you can take on the scene to protect yourself and immediately minimize damages.
You’ve called the police, you took photos of the crash site with a camera or cell phone, you’ve exchanged information with the other driver and you’re considering options for legal counsel. Just as you understand you need professional legal help, know that you also need professional medical advice.
Often a person who suffers an accident is left in a state of shock, and is unaware how severe an injury may be. It’s quite common for people to feel minimal pain right after an accident, only to wake up the next morning with pain so severe they find it difficult to get out of bed.
Many people simply feel embarrassed after an accident, which discourages them from seeking a doctor’s care. Nevertheless, medical professionals agree that the first 72 hours after an accident are a critical period when treatment can be most effective. Initial bumps and bruises may not seem serious, but the onset of many symptoms (such as soft tissue damage, i.e., whiplash) generally won’t appear until 12 to 24 hours after an accident.
At Wittmer & Linehan PLLC, one of our primary jobs is to help people recover the cost of medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering. The prompt pursuit of medical care provides us with information and evidence that is critical to the successful defense of a case. We recommend an initial evaluation at a local emergency room, even if you don’t suspect you’ve been injured. X-rays can reveal subtle injuries that you didn’t notice, but can dramatically worsen over time.
If your ER evaluation returns no physical trauma requiring immediate treatment, you will be released with a recommendation to follow up with your family doctor. It is important that you make the appointment as soon as you get home from the hospital. If you don’t have a primary care physician, find a doctor who specializes in physical injuries to accident victims. Time is of the essence in bringing a personal injury claim to your insurance provider or attorney. If you wait too long to visit a doctor after an accident, you weaken your claim that the accident caused your injury.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Take photos of all your injuries a few days after the accident, when any bruising will be more visible. If you don’t fully document your injuries with photographs, treatment records and medical bills, evidence gets lost and your case may suffer. We don’t want to see that happen. In an upcoming article, we’ll explain how to get the most out of medical consultations following an accident. If an accident has left you with unanswered questions, call the law office of Wittmer & Linehan for a free consultation.