It is a good idea to make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible after the crash, even if you have no visible injuries and feel fine.
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How Soon After a Car Accident Should I See a Doctor if I Do Not Feel Injured?
As a general rule, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after a car crash. If you have no apparent serious injuries, there is no need to speed to the hospital in an ambulance or summon a paramedic to the scene.
However, it is not ideal to wait days, weeks, or months to seek medical attention, either. (Having said that, if you are reading this and significant time has elapsed since your car accident, it is never too late to visit your doctor, and you are better off doing so weeks or months later than not at all.)
If you do have an injury, whether it is an obvious one or not, seeing a doctor soon after the accident establishes a medical link between the crash and your injuries. This link can serve as a critical piece of evidence when negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or fighting the driver himself or herself in court.
Moreover, based on what your doctor finds, he or she will recommend a medical protocol for you to follow in the ensuing weeks or months. Doing so is not only beneficial to your health and recovery, but it can bolster your case even further by showing that you are seeking ongoing treatment for your accident-related injuries.
How Likely Am I to Have an Injury That I Cannot See or Feel?
Such a question is impossible to answer with any degree of certainty. However, the likelihood is high enough that you should never assume from the way you look and feel that you did not sustain any injuries and do not need to check with a doctor
If nothing else, visiting a doctor after your car accident offers peace of mind that you do not have any internal injuries — some potentially serious — that you are overlooking.
Head injuries can be especially insidious, often not presenting any immediate signs or symptoms, but worsening as your brain swells inside your skull without your knowledge. In the chaos of your accident, are you sure you did not strike your head against anything: the dashboard, the driver or passenger side window, even the headrest on your seat?
Chances are, your doctor will tell you that your instincts were right and you have no serious injuries. But just that reassurance is worth the copay and the hour or two that it took to go to the appointment.
How Can Seeing a Doctor After a Car Accident Help My Claim?
If the police report and the evidence show that the other driver was at fault, then in most states, including Florida, he or she is responsible for your property damage. Property damage includes the damage to your vehicle or, if the insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss, its fair market value, plus the value of other physical property damaged in the wreck, such as electronic equipment or jewelry you were carrying in the car.
The process to receive compensation for bodily injuries, however, can be more complex. In Florida, you first have to file with your own insurance company, using a policy provision known as personal injury protection (PIP). However, if you have damages beyond what PIP covers, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for bodily injuries.
For such an effort to succeed, you need the strongest evidence possible, and this means drawing a conclusive, indisputable link between the car crash and your injuries. The sooner you go to the doctor, the easier it is to do this. A long gap between the accident and your first post-crash medical exam makes it easier for the other driver to call the causal link into question, or to suggest that something happened in between that was the real cause of your injuries.
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Call Us for Help With Your Car Accident Claim
The attorneys at Anidjar & Levine are ready to help you with your injury claim. Call us today at 800-747-3733 for a free consultation.