If you're injured in a car accident, emergency services might come to the scene and take you to the closest hospital for treatment. But what about seemingly minor car accidents, where there's little or no immediate pain or noticeable discomfort?
In this article, we'll explain:
A lot of personal injury attorneys have stories about clients coming into their offices saying they felt no pain at the scene of their car accident, or later the same day. But the following morning they woke up feeling a variety of symptoms, including:
It can take several hours, several days or even a week for injuries or serious discomfort to register with a car accident victim. Learn more about common car accident injuries.
One reason for this is that your body responds to pain signals and the stress of the accident by producing morphine-like hormones called endorphins. Endorphins (and adrenaline) mask the pain until your body and mind have had time to recover from the stress of the accident. Learn more about car accident injuries that don't show up right away.
So, whenever you feel symptoms of injury after a car accident, get medical care. Don't assume that your injuries will clear up on their own or that the pain is just a passing thing. Do the safe thing and get checked out.
Besides the obvious need to prioritize your health and safety, there are two main reasons why it's important that you get proper medical care and follow through with your treatment after a car accident:
If your doctor diagnoses an injury and begins a course of treatment, continue the course of treatment until your doctor releases you from it. That includes following up with referrals to specialists, attending any diagnostic examinations, filling any prescriptions, and performing any recommended at-home rehabilitation.
If you're being treated for injuries stemming from a car accident, ask your doctor or other health care provider for copies of your medical records and bills. Read them over carefully, paying attention to the description of your car accident, your medical history, and anything else:
Any discrepancies, inconsistencies, or incomplete information need to be identified and corrected, since insurance adjusters and defense lawyers who are on the other driver's side will use these perceived problems to try to prove that the accident didn't happen the way you say it did, or to challenge the extent (or the cause) of your injuries.
Your medical records and bills are just part of the picture if you're thinking about your options after a car accident. You'll also need to:
Learn more about what to do after a car accident.
It's crucial to get medical treatment and take the other actions we discussed above after a car accident, but these are often just your first steps on the path to resolution of a car accident claim, especially if someone else was clearly at fault for the crash.
In most states, filing an insurance claim with the at-fault driver's car insurance company is one option. If you're comfortable doing so, you can file the claim on your own and get the settlement process started. Learn more about getting a car insurance claim started after an accident, and get tips on settling a car accident claim.
But if the insurance company isn't coming to the table with a fair offer (and especially if your car accident injuries are serious) it might make sense to turn everything over to an experienced lawyer.
Your lawyer will work towards a fair resolution of your car accident claim, which often means reaching a settlement agreement out of court. But if filing a car accident lawsuit looks necessary in order to get the best result, there's no substitute for a lawyer's experience and expertise at that stage.
Learn more about how a lawyer can help with your car accident claim. You can also use the features on this page to connect with a car accident lawyer in your area.