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When to Visit a Doctor After a Car Accident

Car accidents can disrupt and ruin the life of whomever it affects in seconds, leaving behind a trail of confusion, pain, and shock. Even if you feel unharmed, seeking medical attention without delay is important. Minor injuries may escalate and become a long-term health liability. 

Continuing to wait on your medical care can also weaken any subsequent legal claims. Insurance companies might use your delayed medical visit as an argument to question the severity of your injuries and limit the payout of your compensation. So, how late is too late to see a doctor after a car accident?

Immediate Medical Attention Is Crucial

Car accidents need urgent medical care. If you or someone in an accident experience any of the following symptoms, it’s critical to call 911 or go directly to the emergency room: 

  • Severe bleeding

  • Trauma to the head or neck

  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Intense abdominal pain

  • Broken bones

  • Sudden changes in vision or hearing

These symptoms could mean life-threatening conditions, getting immediate medical attention means you can minimize the risk of such severe complications. 

Seeking Care for Less Obvious Injuries

Most people shrug off injuries. Even if the injuries you’ve sustained appear minor, visiting your doctor within 24-48 hours is still a key component of checking all your boxes. Early diagnosis allows for more effective treatments, speeding/starting the recovery path, and preventing long-term health issues. 

Quicker medical assessments also means your record of injury is done faster. This means you’ll be able to link them directly to the accident and this becomes an invaluable asset when you’re in negotiations with insurance companies as well as if legal action becomes necessary. 

The Dangers of Hidden Injuries

After an accident, people will experience a rush of adrenaline which will mask pain and hide injuries. Initially, you may feel great, happy that you escaped the accident, but internal injuries, whiplash, and concussions can have delayed or subtle symptoms that only a medical professional can detect through thorough examination. 

Internal Injuries: Car accidents can cause internal bleeding and organ damage that aren’t immediately apparent. Diagnostic tests like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs are crucial to identify and treat these hidden dangers.

Whiplash: This common injury occurs when the head is violently jerked forward and back, stretching neck muscles and tendons. Symptoms like stiffness, headaches, and dizziness might emerge hours or days later. Early medical attention ensures proper documentation and treatment.

Concussions: Even a minor bump on the head can lead to a concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury. Symptoms such as headaches, confusion, and sensitivity to light might not appear immediately. A prompt medical evaluation is necessary to assess the severity and manage the condition effectively.

For more information, NextPhase Community encourages immediate consultation with healthcare professionals to mitigate health complications and ensure comprehensive documentation of any injuries sustained.

The Importance of Documenting Injuries

The idea is that documenting your injuries not only benefits you for health reasons, but also for any other reason including insurance claims or legal proceedings. Insurance companies often attempt to limit their payout or suggest the injuries sustained during a car accident were actually caused by unrelated events. 

Statute of Limitations

It’s also essential to be aware of the statute of limitations, which varies from state to state, defining the timeframe in which you can file a lawsuit or dispute for injuries sustained in a car accident. This period can range from one to three years, depending on the state.

Why Medical Records Matter

Your medical records are a vital tool in demonstrating the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. Make sure to undergo a thorough medical evaluation post-accident, request copies of all relevant medical reports, and keep detailed records of treatments, medications, and any impact on your daily activities.

Do not delay seeking medical or legal assistance after a car accident. Timely actions are crucial for both recovery and protecting your legal rights. NextPhase Community emphasizes the importance of immediate and appropriate response following any car accident to safeguard your health and legal interests.

Looking for help in the next step after an injury? Contact NextPhase Community today.

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