When Is It Too Late To Go To The Doctor After a Car Accident?

November 16th, 2023 | by RON BELL

When Is It Too Late To Go To The Doctor After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, should I go to the hospital?

Following a car crash, most people’s first reaction is to seek medical attention, and there are many reasons you should go to the hospital after an accident. However, there are sometimes barriers that prevent individuals from going straight from the scene of a collision to get checked out by a doctor. While injuries following a collision may not seem serious at first, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is crucial for your health and well-being, even after being involved in a minor car accident.

Delayed symptoms after a car accident

Delayed injury symptoms are a genuine issue that many accident victims in New Mexico experience. As a firm with over 40 years of experience representing those who have been hurt in car wrecks in Albuquerque, the Ron Bell Injury Lawyers team has handled many cases where clients did not seek immediate emergency care yet still had strong cases for compensation. In this blog, we will explore the common barriers to getting prompt medical attention, the reasons why clients can still have a case even if they don’t immediately go to the emergency room, and why prompt medical attention and documentation are so valuable to your personal injury case.

How are medical bills paid after a car accident?

Frequently, clients simply don’t realize the extent of their injuries until some time has passed from the initial impact of the collision. Increased levels of adrenalin can mask pain, and as that adrenalin wears off, you’ll likely experience more discomfort. However, delayed pain reactions are far from the only reason injured victims fail to seek medical attention after they’ve been involved in a collision. Many individuals fear the financial repercussions of emergency healthcare. An ambulance ride in Albuquerque can cost hundreds of dollars, and that’s just for treatment on the way to the hospital. A hospital bill or extensive medical procedures can mean financial ruin for many. However, your financial situation should not keep you from obtaining the medical treatment you need for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. By hiring a personal injury attorney with Ron Bell Injury Lawyers, your legal team can inform medical providers of your situation and defer payment of medical bills until we’re able to obtain compensation for you.

How long after a car accident can injuries appear?

One of the main reasons clients may not immediately go to the emergency room after an accident is the deceptive nature of certain injuries. These are often referred to as “hidden injuries” because they may not exhibit immediate symptoms. Those who are involved in collisions and have obvious cuts, contusions, or broken bones will likely seek medical attention over those who appear perfectly fine. However, these injuries can be just as severe, and they can cause lifelong complications. A few common injuries that may be difficult to immediately diagnose are:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Traumatic brain injuries can be particularly deceptive and dangerous if left untreated. Symptoms may not manifest immediately, but they can have devastating long-term consequences. TBIs can result from a blow to the head or whiplash, which can easily occur in a collision. Even a mild concussion can lead to serious cognitive and emotional problems. For those suffering from a TBI, recognizing the signs of a brain injury can be difficult, if not impossible. TBIs may go unnoticed for days or even weeks until friends or family realize that their loved one is not acting like themselves.

Neck Injuries and Back Injuries

Neck and back injuries after a car accident, such as herniated discs and fractures, are also common consequences of car accidents. These injuries can cause debilitating pain, limited mobility, and even disability. While some neck and back injuries will be more noticeable, others may take time to develop. What some assume is just average neck or back pain following a collision may become chronic or even get worse as time goes on. If you don’t visit a doctor after a crash, a whiplash claim may become more difficult to prove.

Hospital car accident injuries and urgent care after a wreck: Early medical intervention is key

While it’s true that hidden injuries can take time to become noticeable, seeking immediate medical attention following a collision is still ideal. Following a car crash, you should get checked out by a doctor for the following reasons:

Begin the Healing Process

Your health should be your top priority. Even if you don’t initially feel pain or discomfort, you can’t be certain without getting evaluated by a healthcare provider. A prompt medical assessment helps ensure that any injuries are diagnosed and treated as early as possible and gets you on the road to recovery faster.

Discover Underlying Injuries

Injuries that aren’t immediately visible to the eye can be caught using medical technology, such as X-rays and MRIs. This will help your healthcare provider pinpoint the root of your pain and prevent unnecessary treatment.

Establish Documentation for your Injury Claim

Seeking medical care immediately after an accident creates a clear link between your injuries and the incident. This connection is essential when pursuing a personal injury claim. Insurance companies and opposing lawyers often use delays in seeking treatment as an argument against the validity of the injury claim.

Delays in medical treatment – Do I still have a case?

Early and regular treatment is important for building your personal injury claim. However, even if you didn’t seek medical attention immediately after your collision, an experienced Albuquerque injury lawyer can likely help you obtain a favorable outcome for your injury claim. Here are a few steps to take to begin building your personal injury claim even if you didn’t immediately obtain medical attention:

Make a Doctor’s Appointment

Seek medical attention as soon as you’re able. Explain the circumstances of the accident to the healthcare provider and make sure they document your statements and symptoms. The sooner you’re seen by a healthcare professional, the earlier your documentation trail will start.

Get a Treatment Plan

Your treatment plan will be outlined by your medical providers and will help you get your health back on track. You can only get a treatment plan in place by consulting with your healthcare provider and getting an evaluation, so make sure to make your initial appointment as soon as you realize something is wrong.

Follow Your Treatment Plan

This step is crucial for the outcome of your case. While circumstances may have prevented you from seeking medical attention right away, making sure you go to all of your appointments with doctors, nurse practitioners, chiropractors, and physical therapists will help prove the extent of your injuries. Each visit is documented in your medical record. That means each time you go to an appointment, the status of your health and any changes or improvements are detailed in notes that can be used as evidence in your case. If you have to miss an appointment, try to reschedule it as quickly as possible to avoid gaps in treatment. Missing appointments too frequently can cause insurance adjusters to question the extent of your injuries, which weakens your case.

Why do insurance companies deny claims?

Many injury victims who don’t seek medical treatment right away will likely have their pain and suffering questioned and minimized by the insurance company. Insurance companies are a business, and at the end of the day, they’re looking to keep money in their own pockets. They’ll search for reasons to deny compensation and offer smaller settlements than you deserve, citing a lack of treatment towards the beginning of your case. This is why hiring a personal injury lawyer is so important. A personal injury attorney with Ron Bell Injury Lawyers knows how insurance companies operate, and our team can help you build evidence to support your claim and refute the adjuster’s attempts to minimize your suffering.

An Albuquerque car accident attorney can help

In summary, just because you didn’t get medical treatment right away following a car wreck doesn’t mean you don’t have a personal injury case or a chance at obtaining compensation for your losses. There are many circumstances that may prevent an injured victim from going to the emergency room or getting a medical appointment immediately. You may not even know the full extent of your injuries until days or weeks after the initial collision. While the adjuster may argue that the lack of treatment right away shows you weren’t hurt as badly as you claim, this doesn’t mean that your pain and suffering aren’t real. Getting treatment as quickly as possible after your collision and then following through with the treatment plan as set forth by your doctor will help to build your personal injury claim. Having a personal injury team with decades of experience can help you make your case even stronger and fight to get the best possible outcome.

If you’ve been hurt in a wreck and held off seeking medical attention, begin getting treatment right away. Then, contact the Albuquerque car accident lawyers at Ron Bell Injury Lawyers. We’ll begin collecting documentation, building evidence, help you find doctors, and schedule appointments to see the healthcare providers that are best suited for your injuries. Contact us today at 898-BELL for a free, no obligation consultation.

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