Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

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November 21, 2020
Edward Smith

I Feel Okay – Should I See a Doctor?

If you have ever been involved in a car crash where you felt reasonably fine at the scene, you may have wondered if it was still important to be examined by a doctor.  If it was a significant impact, and even a possibility that you were hurt, the answer is yes.  Following are some of the reasons why:

To Safeguard Your Health

It is not unusual to fail to notice injuries immediately after a car crash.  You may be in shock and feel overwhelming relief that you were not killed or maimed.  But that does not mean that you do not require medical attention. A violent impact can cause a multitude of injuries that may manifest symptoms in the subsequent hours, days, or possibly even weeks after the accident.  Some types of injuries that may not be immediately apparent include concussion/brain injury, whiplash/soft tissue trauma, and internal bleeding.

Although there is sometimes a delay in emerging symptoms, these sorts of injuries can be very serious or even life-threatening if complications arise that are not addressed.  The best thing to do is to see a doctor within a day or two of the crash.  Be sure to describe the accident, the impact, and any discomfort or strange sensations you are feeling.  Prompt medical treatment can ensure that your recovery is not complicated and that all potential issues are addressed.

So yes, it is important to see a doctor after a car crash.  Here are some other reasons why:

To Show an Intention to Mitigate Damages

Mitigation of damages means that you made an effort to lessen the effects that the accident had on your health and finances.  A skilled car accident lawyer will tell you that mitigation of damages is important if a personal injury legal matter arises from the accident.  If there are any complications that are caused by a delay in treatment, an insurance adjuster will attempt to argue that you were partially responsible for those complications by not seeking treatment sooner.  California is a state that recognizes pure comparative fault, and it is possible that a delay in treatment could result in a reduction of the overall monetary compensation to which you are entitled.

Another very important component of mitigating damages is to follow your doctor’s recommendations once you do begin treatment.

To Create a Paper Trail

There are four key elements usually found in successful personal injury claims: 

  • That defendant had a duty of care to protect others.
  • That defendant breached that duty of care (by driving negligently, for example).
  • That defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident.
  • The accident, caused by the defendant’s breach of duty, caused your injuries.

Seeing a doctor promptly and then following through with all recommended treatment are the means by which the fourth element of causation can be proven.  Medical records can establish a direct link between the defendant’s negligence and your injuries.

Insurance companies will look for any argument to avoid paying on your injury claim.  If you put off going to the doctor for an extended period of time following the accident, they will challenge the assertion that your injuries were caused by the crash.  If you sit at home in pain and try to tough it out, then finally relent and see the doctor weeks or even months later, it may be nearly impossible to link the cause of your injuries to the accident.  If you are unable to establish that link, the opportunity to be financially reimbursed for your damages diminishes or disappears.

Watch the YouTube video.  Attorney Ed Smith and can help guide you toward getting appropriate medical care following a car crash.

Sacramento Car Accident Attorney

Thank you for reading our exploration of the question: Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?  I’m Ed Smith, a car accident attorney in Sacramento, California.  If you were injured in a vehicle crash, our injury lawyers can help protect your rights and make sure that you receive fair compensation for your damages.  Do not hesitate to call us for free and friendly legal advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

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