WHY YOU SHOULD SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION AFTER AN ACCIDENT
No one likes to think about an accident happening to themselves or someone they love, but the reality is they can happen to anyone — regardless of how careful you are. When they do, it’s essential that you seek medical care — even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Here at the Winter Law Group in Fresno, California, we’ve seen too many cases in which the victim of a car accident delays treatment only to discover down the road that their injuries have worsened or they’ve missed their opportunity to receive damages from the at-fault party. If you’re in the Fresno area, including Visalia, Clovis, and the counties of Merced or Madera, contact us today to discuss your options.
Common Injuries After an Accident
Unfortunately, many personal injury claims occur due to car accidents that can leave you with a wide range of injuries. The most common of these are soft tissue injuries, meaning damage to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Whiplash and back sprains are both types of soft tissue injuries. You can also sustain cuts and scrapes from loose objects that are thrown around in your car upon impact. The suddenness of impact can cause your head or body to hit the side window, steering wheel, dashboard, or a side door. Consequently, concussions, head injuries, and injuries to the arms and legs are all common — even if you were wearing your seatbelt.
Reasons to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The most important thing to do following an accident is to seek medical attention, but many people neglect this because they think they feel fine. However, there are good reasons to get medical care:
Your Own Sake — Even if you think you aren’t injured or that injuries are minor, you need to seek medical attention. Sometimes symptoms don’t appear for days or even weeks, at which point it may be too late to reverse the damage. Adrenaline and hormones pump through your body after a traumatic incident to dull your pain and make you feel better than you actually are. Whiplash is one such injury that often has delayed symptoms, and the longer you wait, the harder it can be to treat.
Documentation — When filing an insurance claim, you’ll need official documentation of a medical diagnosis and the sooner you have this, the better. Keep a record of every diagnosis and care report, including follow-up and specialist visits.
Insurance Companies — Some insurance companies, especially in cases of claims against at-fault drivers, will look for any opportunity to reduce the settlement they offer. We often see insurance providers attempt to reduce the settlement amount if the injured individual waits too long to seek medical care. They’ll use this as evidence that your injury was not serious enough to warrant medical intervention or that you only sought medical care thinking it would result in a larger settlement.
Following Through with the Treatment Plan
For the same reasons it’s important to seek medical attention, it’s just as important to follow through with the treatment plan outlined by your doctor. As mentioned above, many symptoms can take a while to show up and the effects can be long-lasting. Typically, people with whiplash or back injuries will need to see a specialist for months (or even years) after an accident to monitor the treatment plan and receive physical therapy. These appointments can be costly but they’re also necessary. If you fail to attend follow-up visits, an insurance company can argue that your injuries aren't very serious and you may miss out on financial compensation to cover future medical expenses.
Trust a Personal Injury Attorney for Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, your focus can and should be on your mental and physical health — not negotiating with an unfamiliar insurance company or navigating the complicated road of filing a claim. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you through this traumatic process to ensure you get the care you need and communicate with insurance providers or other attorneys so you can focus on your health. Call us at The Winter Law Group today. We proudly serve clients in Fresno, Visalia, and Clovis, as well as the California counties of Merced and Madera.