Why do I need a medical exam if I feel uninjured after a car accident?

Posted on February 11, 2024 in Car Accidents

Thankfully, you may have walked away from the car accident feeling unscathed and even turned down medical care at the scene because you thought nothing was wrong. Although not experiencing immediate injury is a positive start, it does not mean you are uninjured. Your health status may change in the days and weeks after your car accident, and by then, you have lost valuable treatment time that may have prevented the injury from worsening.

You should continuously operate under abundant caution after a car accident because your health is crucial, and you must do everything possible to tend to it. You may not want to see the doctor because you do not feel like you need to or may not have the time. But a quick trip for potential diagnostic testing and a conversation with your doctor can give you peace of mind. Being vigilant may also help with a possible legal case if you seek financial compensation.

As always, consider calling an experienced car accident lawyer after a crash, who will advise whether you have a possible legal case against the other driver involved in the accident. They will file a car accident claim on your behalf and work to prove that someone else was to blame. Then, your attorney will begin negotiations to get you a substantial settlement check.

There Are Some Car Accidents with Delayed Effects and Symptoms

Medical Exam After A Car AccidentNot every car accident injury is apparent to you at the accident scene. First, your body may have tensed up in anticipation of the collision, and it may be hours or days before you begin to feel the exact effects. Additionally, the adrenaline from the sudden and traumatic impact of the crash can mask injuries for some time. You may not feel symptoms until days after the accident; in some cases, the symptoms will appear weeks later.

Examples of Delayed Car Accident Injuries

The nature of some injuries can mean that their symptoms remain concealed for some time.

Some delayed car accident injuries can include:

  • Whiplash is when the force of the car accident causes your neck to snap forward while the rest of your body remains still. Whiplash can cause pain in practically any part of your body because it can impact your spinal cord and nervous system. You may not begin to feel the effects of whiplash for days after the accident, but it is a severe injury that can remain with you for an extended period.
  • Internal injuries are dangerous. Here, you may have suffered damage to blood vessels or organs, yet you may not immediately realize that you have suffered an injury. By the time you begin to notice any injury symptoms, the damage may have progressed, and your life can even be in danger.
  • The sudden and wrenching motion that your body may experience in a car accident can cause a soft tissue injury to your back. Some serious back injuries include herniated discs and spinal stenosis. A herniated disc is when pressure from the vertebrae pushes the soft gel through the outer shell of your disc, and the bulging disc can place pressure on your spine and cause discomfort. Disc injuries often take time to show symptoms.
  • Concussions and other brain injuries are some of the most severe effects of a car accident. You may not experience any symptoms from these injuries for several days. In the meantime, your brain injury may grow worse without treatment. Therefore, the first several days are when treatment is the most crucial because, by the time you notice symptoms, you may have sustained permanent damage.

These are just a few examples of car accident injuries that may take time for symptoms to manifest. The point is that you are never quite sure for some time that you are no longer at risk of developing symptoms of injuries after a car accident. You should do everything in your power to protect yourself and consider seeing the doctor, even if you do not have any indication that something is wrong. There is something to be said for peace of mind after your body has been through a traumatic event.

It Always Helps to Be Cautious

You want to always play things safe after a car accident and do everything you can to put yourself in a better medical and legal situation. You never know what investing some time and a co-payment can mean for both your health and your case.

In the best-case scenario, the doctor will give you a clean bill of health and may tell you to come back in a few weeks for a follow-up exam. You are out nothing but some time and your portion of the cost of the examination. If you are diagnosed with an injury, you will be glad you took the time to see the doctor. A bit of caution and proactivity can go a long way, and there is nothing to regret if you go to the doctor and they do not find anything wrong with you.

You Need to Establish a Tie Between the Car Accident and Your Injury

One of the critical requirements in a car accident case is that you prove the other driver was the cause of your injuries. You must show that you would not have suffered an injury without the driver’s actions or omissions. This element is known as causation, and it is the final leg of the four-part test for negligence.

The longer you wait to get medically checked out, the harder it may be to prove causation. The insurance company may even dispute that there is a connection between your car accident and the injury. For example, if you have suffered a back injury, the passage of time may mean that the insurance company argues that you suffered an injury another way. The more time that goes by since the car crash, the more you need to strain to connect the collision and your injury. You can easily prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident but lose your case because you failed to prove causation.

You Need to Mitigate Your Damages

No matter what type of legal case you have, you are always obligated to mitigate your damages, and this principle requires you to do everything you can to minimize your losses. In a personal injury context, mitigation means promptly addressing your health because delaying medical care can cloud your legal picture.

Insurance companies will almost always challenge you when you learn that you have suffered an injury weeks after the car accident. It does not matter that you did not feel any pain or symptoms at the time. When convenient for them, they will raise the issue that you should have been more vigilant about taking care of your health.

One of the first things that insurance companies will look at upon reviewing your medical records is when you sought help for your injuries. They will examine the intervals between your doctors’ appointments and whether you took all of your prescribed medication. Insurance companies will scrutinize what you have done to point the finger at you however they can. If there is any time gap between the accident and when you began treatment, they may try to challenge your claim.

You Need to Reach the Point of Maximum Medical Improvement

If you suffered an injury, you must receive treatment before you can file a claim. You can only accurately quantify and describe your damages once you know your medical situation. You may still need to go through an entire course of treatment before there is more visibility about your condition.

At some point, you will reach maximum medical improvement. This term represents when your condition will not continue to improve with further medical treatment. The sooner you seek treatment, the quicker you may reach MMI.

You Also Need Documentation to File a Car Accident Claim

You are the one who has the burden of proof for both liability and your damages. You will not receive financial compensation if you cannot demonstrate exactly how you have suffered an injury and the resulting damages.

Everything revolves around your medical records because the insurance company will learn how badly you have suffered an injury from these documents. The doctor who treated you will make notes, write your diagnosis, and document what hardships you may face.

Seeing a doctor begins to lay the groundwork for your insurance claim, where you will get the beginnings of the medical records that will grow with future visits to the doctor. Your records must be as comprehensive as possible to persuade the insurance company.

Reach Out to a Car Accident Lawyer After Your Accident

Hiring a car accident attorneyYou should be ready to contact an experienced car accident attorney when you realize you may have suffered an injury in a crash. Your attorney will represent you legally as you seek financial compensation for your injuries. You will first need to prove liability for the accident, and causation is a part of proving liability.

You can only begin to negotiate a possible settlement after you prove fault. Obtaining enough compensation presents challenges, and your lawyer will need to show how and why you suffered an injury, even though you did not show symptoms of your injuries right after the accident. Insurance companies will downplay your injuries because it means that they may owe you less.

How Your Attorney Fights for You After a Car Accident

Your attorney will always stand up for you during the entire legal process. They will work to protect you at all times when the insurance company is trying to take your legal rights away from you.

There are several ways that an attorney protects your rights after you have suffered an injury in a car accident:

  • The presence of your attorney will keep the insurance company from trying to talk to you directly. Insurance companies want to speak to you to coerce or trick you into making admissions or statements they can use against you during the claims process.
  • Your attorney will advise you to reject any settlement offer that does not fully compensate you for your car accident injury, countering with an offer of your own to negotiate a settlement agreement.
  • A lawyer will prevent the insurance company from unfairly blaming you for the accident, which will reduce your car accident compensation. Your lawyer may have to defend your actions in the accident to keep the insurance company from pointing the finger at you.
  • Your attorney will defend what you did after the accident in terms of getting medical care for yourself and following up with your treatment.

You should hire a lawyer at the first possible opportunity after you have suffered an injury in a car accident. If not, the insurance companies will do whatever they can to put you in a worse legal position, and it can cost you money because you waited too long to hire an attorney.

Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Costs Nothing Out of Pocket

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, the last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to afford legal representation. Fortunately, hiring a car accident attorney costs you nothing out of pocket.

Car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if they win your case. This fee is typically a percentage of the compensation you receive, so there are no upfront costs or hidden fees.

Bob Boatman, Attorney for Auto Accident

Robert W. Boatman, Car Accident Lawyer

But what about the expenses related to your case? Don’t worry, your attorney will handle those too. From gathering evidence, hiring experts, and even filing court documents, these expenses are all covered by your attorney. They will front the costs and only collect reimbursement if they win your case.

By hiring a car accident attorney, you can focus on your recovery and let the legal professionals handle the complexities of your case. They will fight for your rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and work towards getting you the compensation you deserve.

Don’t let financial concerns prevent you from seeking legal help after a car accident. Remember, hiring a car accident attorney costs you nothing out of pocket. Take the first step towards getting the justice you deserve by contacting a trusted personal injury attorney today.