After a car accident, the first priority is the health and safety of all involved. If there are injuries, emergency services are called or those injured are taken by friends and loved ones to the hospital as soon as possible. Minor injuries should still be seen by a doctor, even if you don’t need a trip to the emergency room. But what if you don’t think it’s that big a deal? What if you are not sure whether you have been injured?
Should I Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident?
Definitely, if you’ve been in a car accident do not delay in seeing a doctor. What doesn’t seem like much at first can easily become a major health issue down the line.
When you have been in a car accident, any injuries that result from the event can and should be covered by insurance. However, insurance companies need a lot of proof before they will provide any settlement amount, including proof that injuries occurred as a result of the crash and not shortly before or after. It is also true that soft tissue or internal injuries can be hard to detect immediately after an accident, but may develop to be painful later on.
Fortunately, legal advice from an experienced car accident lawyer can help to defend your right to a fair settlement whether or not you visit a doctor immediately after your accident.
Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help if You Did Not Go to the Doctor After an Accident?
Many people make the mistake of thinking they are completely or mostly fine after a car accident. Going to the doctor takes time and can be stressful, and you might just want to go home and sleep off the unpleasant experience of the car crash. But what if you wake up with a terrible pain in your neck or back? It is quite common to discover joint problems, spinal problems, headaches, and other issues after a car accident even if you did not go to the doctor right away.
Insurance companies may want to deny you coverage for your Arizona car accident injuries, but a car accident lawyer can help you prove your injuries, map your recovery, and seek a rightful settlement for your not-at-fault injuries resulting from the crash. Hutzler Law is a Top-Rated Phoenix personal injury law firm that helps victims of accidents and injuries recover and get the compensation they deserve. We can help you, as well if you call us at 602-730-4530 or reach out through our online form.
Why You Should Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident
Every single person who is in a car accident should go to the doctor immediately afterward. If you are clearly or severely injured, make use of local emergency services to seek immediate treatment. But even if you feel fine, or you are just experiencing aches and pains, it is important to see a medical professional for several vital reasons.
1. Your Health Matters
First and foremost, your health is important. Car accidents are traumatic, and often in ways we do not realize. The simple sudden change in velocity whips your body around and can cause all manner of damage, even if you don’t have an obvious car accident injury. Maybe you did not hit your head on the dash, have your shoulder cut by the seatbelt, or get showered in broken glass.
But then again, many people don’t remember exactly what happened during that single violent moment of collision. A doctor can give you a full check-up and scans to tell you if you are really fine, treat any injuries, and give advice on how to best take care of yourself after the accident.
2. Hidden Conditions Can Develop
Many car accident injuries are not immediately detected. Whiplash and other types of soft tissue damage express trauma through aches, joint pain, slow-developing bruises, and internal discomfort that can come from the car accident without having a clear or obvious cause.
Doctors can help you identify hidden conditions and tell you what to watch out for if you are unsure about your symptoms immediately after the crash.
3. Injury Documentation
Lastly, any injuries, no matter how small or hidden, should be documented. The results of your scan, the record of your doctor visit, any prescriptions given, and your doctor’s testimony can all build the solid foundations for a claim if you need to request medical coverage from an insurance for car accident injuries.
What to Ask Your Doctor After a Car Accident
When you visit your doctor after a car crash, there are a few extra steps to take. You will want to have a special discussion with your doctor about the recent accident. Most doctors will understand and help you go through the necessary steps to find hidden injuries and fully document your condition, but it helps to know and complete the checklist for yourself.
Discuss the Accident and Your Experience
Tell your doctor not just about the accident, but what you experienced. Tell them if your nead snapped, if you bumped into the door or the dash, or if your seatbelt locked. Mention of your car spun or was forced to a sudden stop, or if you rolled onto the median. Explain the physics of the crash – whatever you can remember, including the sensations and feelings.
This will help your doctor identify the most likely types of injuries you may have experienced and check for damage you might not have detected while still shaken from the accident.
Ask for a Full Scan and the Printed Results
Request a full scan of your body to determine if there is joint damage or soft tissue damage that hasn’t shown outward signs of injury yet. Then ask for a printed copy of the scan results for your personal records.
Request Photographs of Any Visible Damage
If you have any evident swelling, bruising, or scrapes from the accident, ask your doctor to help you photograph the evidence. Your doctor will take respectful and detailed photos for your records which will prove the day-one severity of your outward injuries.
Ask for a Full Written Report
Ask your doctor to give you a full written report of your condition and the results of your checkup. Most doctor visits do not include a testimony, but this can be very helpful later on if you wind up dealing with a stubborn insurance agency.
Ask How to Detect Slow-Developing Symptoms
If your doctor warns you to watch out for slow-developing symptoms of tissue damage, ask for a specific list of symptoms to be aware of. These can include dizziness, farigue, nausea, and headaches in addition to body aches or swelling.
Revisit Your Doctor If Symptoms Arise
If you start to experience symptoms of pain or unwellness in the weeks or even months after an accident, revisit your doctor for another full checkup. Let them know everything you have experienced and they will help you identify if you are showing signs of hidden injuries.
Collect All Relevant Medical Reports
Maintain a personal record of all medical reports from one or more doctor visits after your car accident.
Why Insurance Companies Need So Much Proof
It is also important to understand why insurance companies can be so hard to work with when it comes to Arizona car accident injuries, especially under-documented injuries and those that show symptoms after the accident.
Minimizing Claims is the Business Model
First, consider how insurance companies make money. People pay their monthly premium which provides income for the insurance company. Insurance companies need to accumulate large reserves because, sometimes, insurane payouts are truly massive. However, the more claims and larger settlements that are approved, the more an insurance company will lose money. If too many claims are paid, then they will not be able to stay in business.
This, unfortunately, means that insurance companies are obligated to look for reasons to deny or minimize settlements, even though it is also their job to financially take care of people who have experienced disasters.
Fraudulent Injury Claims are Common
Another unfortunate truth is that a lot of people see a car accident as an opportunity. Even normal people who have been in in a recent accident may be tempted to play up the severity of an injury – or claim an existing injury to get coverage from the other driver’s insurance for pain that wasn’t caused by the accident.
Injuries that happen shortly after an accident may also be claimed, often using the excuse that the person did not go to the doctor to document the injury right after the accident.
This is why insurance companies tend to be much more likely to approve an injury claim if there is medical documentation available within one or two days, and why you should go to the doctor after a car accident even if you think that your injuries are very minor.
Defending Your Right to Fair Injury Coverage After an Arizona Car Accident
If you have recently been in a car accident and have immediate or hidden injuries, the experienced car accident lawyers of Hutzler Law can help. Our attorneys know how to help you build a comprehensive medical report to prove the severity and relevance of your injuries to even the most stubborn and hostile insurance agency.
You deserve fair injury coverage after your Arizona car accident and we will fight for you. For a consultatio call us at 602-730-4530 or reach out through our online form.