You have a million things to take care of after a car crash: repairs, shopping for a replacement vehicle, dealing with the insurance company, arranging for a rental, and the list goes on. Unless you are seriously injured — in which case you will probably be transported to the nearest hospital immediately — you might be wondering where, or even if, you should fit medical care into your post-crash to-do list.
In all but the most minor of car crashes (for instance, a half-mile-an-hour ding in a parking lot that barely takes any paint off your bumper), you should seek medical attention afterward, regardless if you feel injured. Moreover, you should get care as soon as possible after that accident — preferably within 72 hours at most.
Getting medical attention immediately after a car crash benefits both your health and, potentially, your claim against the other driver for damages.
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Why Should I Get Medical Care After a Car Crash?
Ideally, you want to seek medical attention immediately after a car crash. If your injuries are severe, you might not have a choice in the matter. An ambulance will probably arrive on the scene and transport you to the hospital.
If the crash is less serious, you are generally free to do what you want after the police finish writing up their report. In fact, if your car is drivable, you can even drive home from the accident scene. And this is what many drivers do, especially when there are no injuries they can see or feel.
But failing to get medical care after a crash is a bad idea, even if you feel fine. If you are reading this at home within a day or two of a crash, go to the doctor to get checked out. Even if it has been a week or longer, it is still better to go now than to let any more time pass. There are two reasons for this:
Reason One: You Might Have Internal Injuries You Cannot See or Feel
Just because you do not feel hurt does not mean you escaped the crash without any physical injuries. Sometimes, internal injuries can take days, weeks, or even months to manifest themselves. During that time, though, your injury could be worsening, making it harder and more painful to treat when you finally become aware of it.
The chances are good that if you do not look hurt and do not feel hurt that you are fine, and indeed, have no major injuries. But why take that chance?
Reason Two: It May Help Your Claim for Compensation
If the crash was the other driver’s fault, you can file a claim against their insurance company and collect compensation. Their insurance should pay for your property damage and bodily injury up to the driver’s policy limits. If your damages exceed those limits, you can sue the at-fault driver to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
But for your claim and your lawsuit to be successful, you need proof that:
- You indeed suffered injuries, and
- The car crash was the direct cause of your injuries.
The sooner you get medical care after your car wreck, the easier it is to tie any injuries you might have to the crash itself. A doctor who examines you immediately after the accident, or at least within 72 hours, can offer a definitive opinion that the wreck caused your injuries.
By contrast, a medical condition diagnosed weeks or months after a traumatic event is more difficult to connect to the event. In the course of negotiating a settlement with the insurance company or the responsible party, they could call into question whether the crash caused your injuries — pointing out that you waited a long time to get medical care — and suggest that your ailments are the result of something that happened afterward.
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What Else Should I Do After an Accident?
Other than seeking medical attention, there are several things you should do after a car crash to help ensure the best outcome in any settlement or lawsuit that follows:
- Write down everything you remember about the crash. Document everything while it is still fresh in your memory.
- Hire an attorney right away. The legal team at The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine does not get paid until you do, so there is no risk when you work with us.
For a free consultation, call the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine at 800-747-3733.