If possible, you should seek medical care from a doctor immediately following an auto accident. Even if you are not showing immediate symptoms for an injury, it is still a safe practice to be examined by a doctor or health care provider after an accident.
As you question how long you can wait to see a doctor after an auto accident, remember that insurance companies will also look for medical documentation from your incident. If your accident was so severe that it warrants a potential surgery or thorough examination, an insurance company overseeing your claim may request medical documentation of your injuries and condition. This information might impact an insurance settlement, should you pursue compensation to cover your treatment costs.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) lists several steps for car accident victims to follow at the scene of an accident. One such step involves attending to your health and safety. According to the III, car accident victims should immediately assess their injuries and call 911 if anyone suffered an injury.
Different Types of Car Accidents May Lead to Severe Injuries
How long you can wait to see a doctor after an auto accident may depend on the type of accident you were involved in and the injuries you sustained. If you were in a minor fender-bender accident, you may not require immediate medical attention. However, you should still get a physical examination later in the week just in case.
However, more dangerous accidents may lead to serious injuries. Severe car accident injuries may get caused by:
- Intersection accidents
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone wrecks
- Truck accidents
- Rear-end accidents
Car accident victims should not wait to visit a doctor or health care provider to treat their injuries if it is apparent that they are severe or have the potential to become severe. Some common serious injuries associated with auto accidents may include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), whiplash, and spinal cord injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause behind all TBI-related hospitalizations in America.
The CDC also stated that a traumatic brain injury “is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” A TBI may range from a “mild” condition to a “severe” condition. A mild TBI consists of a brief alteration in the patient’s mental status or consciousness. A severe TBI may lead to an extended period of consciousness or even memory loss.
According to Mayo Clinic, rear-end collisions are a major cause of whiplash injuries. Mayo Clinic describes a whiplash injury as a neck injury caused by a “forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.”
The symptoms of whiplash can range from neck pain and stiffness to fatigue or dizziness. Mayo Clinic also recommends seeing a doctor if you suffer neck pain after an auto accident.
Spinal Cord Injury
Since 2015, motor vehicle accidents have been the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). A spinal cord injury includes damages to any area of the victim’s spinal cord or nerve damage. These injuries may also lead to permanent bodily function damages.
Seeing a Doctor After an Auto Accident
Even if you do not feel any injury symptoms, you should still see your doctor, as some injuries may develop symptoms days, weeks, or months after the accident occurred. Other symptoms, like internal bleeding, may not necessarily be “felt” or seen and may require imaging scans.
If you are worried about affording the medical costs of seeing a doctor, these costs may be included in the compensation you pursue. Additionally, if a police report and an insurance adjuster determine that you are not at fault for an accident, the other driver’s insurance may cover your expenses.
You Will Need to Prove the Existence and Cause of Your Injuries
When seeking an insurance claim to compensate you for an auto accident, you may require medical evidence. This evidence must prove that the accident caused your injuries. By not seeing a doctor after an accident, you may be unable to make this connection for the sake of your insurance claim.
Seeing a doctor can also help you monitor your symptoms. They may also prescribe you medication and therapy to help heal or treat your injuries. That’s why it’s critical to always follow your doctor’s orders. However, if there is no proof that you sought medical treatment, an insurance adjuster may not award you compensation for medical damages.
Call George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Today
If you are wondering how long you can wait to see a doctor after an auto accident, remember that insurance adjusters may require medical evidence. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we can protect your rights throughout your case. Our firm can fight to obtain medical evidence associated with your accident, and we may also recommend additional treatments if necessary.
Our car accident lawyers may pursue financial compensation on your behalf if you have been involved in a car accident in South Carolina or Georgia. To learn more, call us today or fill out our online contact form.