- Quickly seeking a medical evaluation and treatment after an accident can ensure a faster recovery and lead to more complete compensation.
- Insurance adjusters often accuse accident victims who do not get medical care right away of “faking” their injuries.
- Medical records that prove you sought care and received treatment shortly after your accident will make collecting for your injuries much easier.
If you aren’t immediately taken to the hospital by ambulance after an accident due to visible or severe injuries, you might question the need for a doctor’s visit. While it can be tempting to delay or skip a medical checkup, this decision could harm you in the long run. Moreover, without a doctor’s assessment, injuries might be overlooked and left untreated.
In Georgia, if you avoid medical care because you don’t want to incur expenses or think you’re tough enough to withstand the pain, you might be making a huge mistake.
Failing to see a doctor or waiting several days or weeks to seek medical help can significantly reduce your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.
Here’s why getting medical attention after an accident is essential for both your recovery and potential compensation.
Should I Go to the Doctor After a Minor Georgia Car Accident?
Gravity and inertia are powerful forces that bear upon the human body when vehicles slam into each other. These forces can lead to injuries, even when the collision happens at relatively slow speeds.
If the accident was so minor that you barely felt the impact, you did not contact the police, and there was no damage to the cars, you might be safe to avoid a doctor’s visit.
But please evaluate the situation carefully. Remember, injuries can be slow to reveal themselves, taking days or even weeks for symptoms to appear.
No matter how small the accident was, you should seek a medical evaluation immediately if you feel any pain, as this could be a sign of a more serious condition.
Insurance Adjusters Are Trained to Deny or Reduce Your Personal Injury Claim.
Maybe you are tough or you are not sure whether you should seek medical care. If you wait several days or weeks before being seen by a doctor, chiropractor, or other medical professional, you can expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to deny or make arguments as to why they will be reducing the amount they are willing to pay to settle your claim.
Insurance adjusters are rarely kindly and understanding like “Flo” or the cartoon gecko you see on television. Any delay in getting medical care may be seized upon by the insurance adjuster to claim you were not hurt, or worse, you are faking your injury. If you were hurt in an accident, you may want to think twice about waiting to see if you get better. In Georgia, especially around Atlanta, waiting to get medical care can make it seriously difficult to settle your car accident claim, even if you hire a personal injury lawyer.
The type of doctor you see after an accident should be driven by the urgency of your medical needs. For example, if you require an ambulance, you will see whatever doctor is available at the hospital.
If your injuries are minor, it may make sense to visit the emergency room as a walk-in, see a chiropractor, or make an appointment with your family doctor. However, if you must wait days for an appointment, consider visiting a doctor at the nearest urgent care facility, especially if you are in pain or you lost consciousness at the time of the accident. If you’re having neck or back pain, you may also wish to see a chiropractor.
Regardless of where you seek medical care, it’s important that you receive any treatment you need and that you keep records of everything.
When to Consider the ER for an Auto Accident Medical Evaluation
The emergency room at a nearby hospital is one of the best places to get checked out after an accident. They have the technology and competent medical professionals on hand to ensure you get the most accurate evaluation, diagnosis, and prompt treatment.
While visits to the emergency room can be expensive, remember, if you are not at fault for the accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation to cover your medical bills. However, if you are found to be at fault, you could be responsible for the expenses.
In any case, having a medical evaluation can help you determine how long your pain will continue or if you will successfully recover from your injuries at all. And, in extreme cases, it can mean the difference between life and death.
It’s helpful to remember that most hospitals and emergency rooms are accustomed to waiting for payment from insurance companies. If you explain that your injury was the result of an accident and agree to make payment arrangements, the hospital should be willing to work with you.
How Soon Should You See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
After an accident, assuming you were injured, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Not only will this give you the best chance of recovery from any injuries, but it will also help during your case evaluation. This is because when claims are reviewed by the insurance company or go to court, it may be tougher to prove the severity of your injuries if you wait to seek medical treatment.
If there is a long delay insurance company adjusters and lawyers may claim you are inventing your injuries or that an unrelated event between the accident and when you saw a doctor caused the damage. However, if your medical records clearly show that a doctor diagnosed your injury immediately or soon after the accident, your claim will be stronger and more easily proven.
Receiving a medical evaluation on the same day as the accident or the following day is important. If the accident happened late in the evening, seriously consider the ER so that you can eliminate lapses in time.
What Can Happen If an Accident Victim Does Not See a Doctor?
We are not medical doctors. However, if you do not seek medical care following an accident, first and foremost, you could run the risk of an injury going unnoticed and untreated.
Some injuries are internal and do not display obvious signs of damage on the skin. For instance, concussions and brain bleeding can go on for some time before symptoms develop. Any delay in finding such damage can be potentially fatal if it goes unnoticed or untreated for too long.
Other injuries can get progressively worse with normal movement in the hours and days following an accident. Prompt immobilization of soft-tissue injuries, like whiplash; spinal injuries; and stress injuries to joints, muscles, and tendons can help prevent further damage and help your body begin the healing process.
Finally, as car accident lawyers who deal with insurance adjusters every day, we can tell you that if you do not seek medical care right away, the insurance company will deny your claim or seriously reduce any settlement offers.
Can Past Medical Examinations and Reports Be Used in a Georgia Car Accident Legal Claim?
In a Georgia personal injury case or claim, medical records are almost always “front-and-center.” Insurance companies are constantly on the lookout for ways to blame the victim’s injuries on other events. They may even look back at past medical records to see if any other relevant issues may be to blame.
Insurance companies have no interest in paying for your injuries if they can avoid doing so. They will look carefully at your entire medical history to find alternative excuses not to pay for your damages. For example, if you played football in high school, insurance company lawyers may try to claim your accident was actually an extension of previous head trauma from your youth. Your herniated disc, they may say, is the result of a water skiing accident when you were on your honeymoon.
If, on the other hand, you can demonstrate through your medical records that your back hasn’t bothered you for many years but recurred immediately following the accident, it goes a long way toward proving your claim. This is another reason why it is important to seek medical care soon after your car wreck.
Complete medical records can be an essential part of car accident injury claims because they can support your claim of damage.
Mr. Millar helped our family navigate a very difficult time in our lives with both wisdom and compassion. It can be fearful when placing your trust in someone else to represent you and what you believe, but I can say with full confidence that he walked with us throughout each step of the process showing great professional knowledge as well as consideration for our values. Thank you again for all that you did for us Mr. Millar!