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When to Seek Medical Treatment After a Car Accident


Our personal injury lawyers relay that it is crucial for an injury claim to be documented and supported by medical records. Even if you do not feel hurt, you need to get checked out. It is extremely common to not feel any pain for the first few days after the car accident, only for the pain to set in at a later point. If you did not get checked immediately after the accident, the insurance company may argue that you injured yourself after the accident or that your injuries are not serious because you waited to seek medical attention. Our fragile bodies are not designed to handle the impact and force that most automobile accidents can generate. Even low-speed impact cases can cause serious damage to your neck and back.  In very stressful situations, our bodies can release potent chemicals to cope with the shock and stress that may mask the pain. That is why is it extremely important to get checked out immediately following the accident.

Urgent Care, the ER, and Primary Care Treatment

We think it best to be seen at the ER first before following up with a primary care doctor. Both Urgent Care and primary care doctors usually lack the technology to perform X-rays and CT scans, and often they will refer patients out for further testing. CT scans and X-rays are important to evaluate what cannot be seen merely by looking at the areas that sustained trauma. That is why we recommend being seen at the ER first so that the necessary tests can be performed as soon as possible after the accident.

Failure to Seek Immediate Medical Treatment May Become a Claim Issue

Some experience pain and restrictions of movement immediately after the accident, but for others, it can take a few days for the pain and stiffness to occur. Many individuals defer getting medical treatment until the pain kicks in, but this can be a big mistake. We have seen that insurance tries to devalue claims and argue that individuals are not seriously hurt because they waited several days or a week to get medical treatment.

Insurance companies use standard criteria to evaluate claims, and one of those criteria is how quickly you sought medical treatment after the accident. Insurance companies frequently argue that the more time that passes between the car accident and the medical treatment, the more likely that the individual is not really hurt or is exaggerating the extent of their injuries. When an individual waits a few days before seeking their initial treatment, insurance adjusters like to argue that the individual most likely hurt themselves at work or home after the accident occurred. For example, if you were involved in a car accident on Saturday, but wait until Wednesday to seek medical treatment, the insurance company may argue that you hurt yourself at home by over-exerting yourself rather than sustaining injuries in the car accident, and it may be impossible for you to prove that you did not hurt yourself on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday at home. At least if you get medical treatment immediately following the accident, the insurance company cannot argue that you hurt yourself in some event that took place between the car accident and when you sought treatment.