| Read Time: 6 minutes | Car Accident

Car accidents are traumatic by nature. The simple experience of two cars hitting one another is so jarring that it can leave you shaken for days, even if there was no other specific cause for trauma. It’s normal to just want to go home, curl up, and try to forget the horrible fear and sensation of the crash. But even if no one needs an ambulance, you should understand the importance of going to the hospital following a car accident.

Car accidents are not just upsetting, they are also more dangerous than most people realize. Minor-seeming or hidden injuries can turn out to be much worse. Concussions from a head-bump you don’t even remember and swelling from injuries caused just by the change in velocity are more common than you might think.

Should I Go to the Hospital Even After a Minor Car Accident?

Definitely make it a priority to see a doctor after any car crash, no big deal or not. Sometimes, what doesn’t hurt now can turn into a real nightmare later on. By taking action today, you can help prevent small injuries from becoming long-term health conditions.

Any injury after an accident, even minor or slow-developing injuries, should be acknowledged and covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance. At Hutzler Law, our experienced car accident attorneys can guide you through the process of claims, approval, and your rightful settlement, even after a minor Arizona car accident.

Ten Signs You Should Go to The Hospital After a Car Accident

You should seek medical attention after a car accident if you experience:

  • Severe Pain: Intense pain in the head, neck, chest, or abdomen.
  • Difficulty Breathing: Could indicate internal injuries like punctured lungs.
  • Head Injuries: Symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, or severe headaches.
  • Visible Injuries: Deep cuts, exposed bones, or serious burns.
  • Numbness or Tingling: Potential signs of spinal injuries, especially in limbs.
  • Loss of Consciousness: Requires hospital evaluation, even if brief.
  • Ejection from the Vehicle: Seek care immediately, regardless of symptoms.
  • Pregnancy: Ensure no complications post-accident.
  • Shock Symptoms: Cold sweats, pale skin, or rapid heartbeat.
  • Worsening Symptoms: Any persisting or intensifying symptoms post-accident.

Why Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident

After a minor car accident, most people just want to go home. You are likely shaken and more than a little upset. If you don’t have any overt injuries that demand immediate medical attention, it’s easy to ignore or even completely miss that you are injured at all. After all, car accidents are traumatic, and we tend to miss seemingly small and unimportant details during and after a trauma.

However, it is still important to take care of yourself. While you might want to sleep off the traumatic experience and unwind after the accident, you should still seek medical attention. Even minor injuries should be treated right away, and you should be checked for signs of undetected or even potentially long-term damage that you have not yet noticed.

An immediate medical checkup also creates important records of any damage you sustained from the car accident, which can become crucial if you need to file an injury claim later on.

Can a Car Accident Attorney Win a Settlement for Minor Injuries?

Minor car accidents typically happen at slower speeds. It is less likely for cars to be totaled and, ideally, there are fewer and less severe injuries. However, insurance policies and Arizona law still applies. The at-fault driver’s insurance is still obligated to cover the cost of repairs and injury recovery, whether the damage was minor or severe.

If you sprained an elbow, got whiplash, bumped your head, or bruised your collar bone on the seatbelt, these injuries are all equally valid and your medical costs should legally be covered by the responsible insurance provider. Even more importantly, if any injury becomes more severe or long-term over time, going, the insurance is obligated to cover extended expenses.

This is where a skilled car accident lawyer can help you claim a fair settlement after a car accident, even if the accident and/or your injuries are minor. The experienced attorneys of Hutzler Law will defend your right to a complete medical claim whether your car accident was big or small. Contact us for a consultation at 602-730-4530 or reach out through our online form.

Underestimating Your Car Accident Injuries

If you don’t go to the hospital after a minor car accident, the single biggest risk is underestimating your injuries. Many people don’t realize that they took damage during an accident. If it doesn’t bleed or swell right away, you may not notice until days or weeks later when the symptoms linger. Perhaps the headaches won’t stop, your elbow is the size of a balloon, or it might hurt every time you climb a step.

These are just a few possible examples of how underestimated and ignored car accident injuries can affect you. But there are two very important reasons to see a doctor right away. The first is that minor injuries don’t necessarily heal, and the second is the risk of hidden injuries after a car accident.

Recommended read for you: How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

Minor Injuries Might Be Lasting Injuries

Most people tend to ignore minor injuries. Little scuffs and sprains are part of being human, and they usually heal. But car accidents are different. A minor injury near your spine might result in slowly increasing back pain for the rest of your life. A minor pain in your knee isn’t just from sleeping wrong or taking a bad step. Car accidents are incredibly violent, even minor ones. The sudden change in velocity may bady wrench a joint so that it is never right again.

What may feel like a minor pain that you would normally shake off may be longer-lasting than you realize. Especially if you don’t see a doctor and begin treatment soon after the injury occurs.

Hidden Injuries that Sneak Up On You (And Your Insurance)

You should also never underestimate the risk of hidden injuries. Soft tissue, joint, spinal, and head damage can all cause problems that are not immediately evident.

Many people do not notice that they bumped their head in the accident, but experience headaches, fatigue, light sensitivity, and other concussion symptoms long after the event.

You may have pain that develops slowly over time, or an injury that only swells days or weeks after the fact. Hidden injuries are one of the primary reasons why lawyers, doctors, and insurance providers all urge hospital visits for people who have been in minor car accidents.

I Feel Fine, Do I Really Need to Go to the Hospital?

If you hate hospitals, your hospital is far away, or you prefer to visit your personal doctor, that’s okay. “Go to the hospital” is common phrasing when talking about car accidents. But, technically, you don’t have to specifically go to a hospital to get the full checkup and medical care that you need after a car accident.

Hospitals for Emergencies

Hospitals and emergency clinics are the ideal destination if you are severely injured and need treatment immediately after an accident. With or without an ambulance, if you are bleeding, have broken bones, are clearly concussed, or otherwise incapacitated, seek emergency services. Go to the hospital or the nearest emergency clinic without delay.

Personal Doctors Can Help

If you have been in a minor car accident, you should see a doctor. But you can choose to see your own personal doctor, visit a local clinic, or try a new local doctor instead of going to the hospital. Some people strongly dislike hospitals and some communities to not have a convenient or affordable hospital nearby, and that’s OK.

The most important thing is that you consult with a medical professional and get a full check-up and receive a detailed written report of your condition. Visuals like photos of injuries or scan results are also very useful both to identify your condition and provide as evidence for your insurance claim later on.

Seeking Out a Specialist

If you are already experiencing specific symptoms, you can even seek out a specialist instead of going to the hospital after a minor accident or visiting a local GP.  Just like there are specialist lawyers who can help you after a car accident, there are specialist doctors who focus on a specific type of condition or injury. You might visit a head trauma specialist if you suspect that you have a concussion, while orthopedists specialize in injuries to the muscles or skeleton.

The right specialist can start you on the road to recovery and provide ample evidence of your condition so that insurance will help to cover the cost.

Insurance Claims for Injuries After a Minor Car Accident

If you are injured or develop symptoms of hidden injuries after a minor car accident in Arizona, you have the right to file an injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance. This is true even if you said there were no injuries immediately after the crash. This is true whether your injuries are minor or serious. According to Arizona law, car insurance policies must all include BIL (bodily injury liability), which means if you need money for medical treatment, it has already been allocated for you. 

All you need to do is file a claim. Of course, insurance companies often try to diminish or deny injury claims, especially after a minor accident. The experienced car accident lawyers of Hutzler Law can help you use your initial trip to the hospital or doctor to prove your injuries and receive your rightful medical settlement.

Schedule Your Initial Consultation

Let us protect your health and your finances by seeking compensation for your medical bills. Even minor car accidents can cause serious and lasting injuries, and you should be compensated for the cost of your treatment and recovery. Our car accident attorneys can help. Contact us for an initial consultation by calling 602-730-4530 or reach out through our online form. If you are located in Phoenix, speak to a Phoenix car accident lawyer today.

Author Photo

Jason Hutzler

Jason Hutzler is the founding partner of Phoenix personal injury law firm Hutzler Law, and represents individuals throughout Arizona. His practice is primarily dedicated to personal injury and car accident claims, leveraging his deep expertise as a former insurance adjustor to navigate the complexities of insurance negotiations.

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