Going to Hospital After Car Accident
Studies show that around 80,000 people end up with long-term disabilities every year due to traumatic brain injuries from accidents, and sadly, about 50,000 lives are lost annually. Even if you don’t feel hurt, getting medical attention is essential to diagnose injuries that might not show symptoms immediately.
As experienced New York car accident lawyers, we can’t stress enough the importance of getting medical attention right after the accident. This is because one of the most important factors your settlement depends on is the severity of the injury and the presence of medical records to back up your claim.
Why Is It Important to Get Medical Care Immediately After an Accident?
Seeking medical care ASAP after an accident is crucial for several reasons. Prompt medical attention ensures your health and safety, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Additionally, obtaining medical records soon after an incident is vital for any insurance or legal claims.
These records serve as evidence of the extent and impact of your injuries, making them indispensable for a successful claim. Even minor injuries require documentation, as insurance adjusters rely heavily on medical documents to determine the validity and value of your insurance claim.
It Helps You Prevent Hidden Injuries
Minor injuries, such as whiplash, internal bleeding, or soft tissue damage, might not exhibit symptoms right away. According to studies, up to 70% of car accident victims experience delayed pain or symptoms. That is why early medical assessment, within 24 hours, can identify these hidden injuries and prevent you from worsening over time.
Strengthens Your Insurance Claim
In the aftermath of a car accident, you’ll likely need to submit an insurance claim to cover your expenses. Not seeking immediate medical treatment gives insurance adjusters an advantage. By delaying your medical attention, you provide them with an opportunity to question the severity of your injuries or even dispute your relation to the accident. This can weaken your claim and potentially reduce the compensation you deserve.
Loss of Negotiation Power
Insurance companies strategically aim to minimize payouts, and a delay in medical care unintentionally weakens your negotiation position. A survey from Consumer Advocacy Group reveals that adjusters often leverage delayed medical attention to downplay the accident’s impact, potentially reducing compensation.
Risk of Evidence Loss
Prompt medical treatment often results in necessary documentation, such as discharge papers outlining your car accident injuries and treatment plan. These documents serve as crucial evidence when pursuing a car insurance claim. They provide details about the extent of your injuries, recommended treatments, and potential follow-up care. Failing to seek medical care promptly means missing out on vital proof that could increase the value of your claim.
Supports Medical Records
According to a comprehensive study by the Medical Research Institute, immediate post-accident medical documents provide a comprehensive account of injuries, validating healthcare expenses. These records, from appointments to surgeries, medications, and therapies, significantly strengthen your claim, hence, increasing the likelihood of receiving rightful compensation.
Addresses Psychological Impact
Surveys conducted by the Mental Health Association underscore the emotional toll accidents take. Immediate medical care not only attends to physical injuries but also addresses potential psychological trauma. Neglecting your emotional well-being can hinder overall recovery, emphasizing the holistic importance of seeking timely medical attention after an accident.
What Are the Different Options for Seeking Medical Care After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, you have multiple options for seeking medical care: visit an emergency room, see a primary care physician, or go to an urgent care center. In severe cases, an ambulance can transport you to the emergency room.
1. Emergency Room (ER): The emergency room is the best choice for severe injuries, especially those requiring immediate attention. ERs are equipped to handle a wide range of injuries, from fractures to head trauma, ensuring you receive prompt and critical care.
2. Urgent Care Centers: Urgent care centers are ideal for non-life-threatening injuries that still need immediate attention. They offer extended hours and can address issues like sprains, minor fractures, and cuts that require stitches.
3. Primary Care Physician: If your injuries are not severe and you can safely wait, scheduling a medical appointment with a primary care physician is an option. They can provide a comprehensive assessment and recommend specialists if needed.
4. Rehabilitation Centers: For more serious injuries that require extensive rehabilitation, such as spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries, rehabilitation centers offer specialized care to help you regain functionality and independence.
What Happens to Your Medical Bills if an Accident Wasn’t Your Fault?
The at-fault driver’s insurance typically covers your medical bills when an accident isn’t your fault. Utilizing your health insurance to pay hospital bills is crucial to avoid potential liens on your settlement. This ensures you receive the full settlement amount, optimizing your reimbursement and addressing your post-accident needs more effectively.
Responsibility of the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
The at-fault driver’s insurance is typically responsible for your medical expenses when the accident is not your fault. Seeking immediate medical attention after the accident allows the at-fault driver’s insurance to cover your hospital expenses. To ensure a smooth process, consulting an experienced car accident lawyer about claiming reimbursement is recommended.
Using Health Insurance to Pay Hospital Bills
Using your health insurance to pay your hospital bills is a common practice. It’s essential because the hospital or its representative could place a lien on your accident case if you don’t. This lien means they have a legal right to a portion of any settlement you receive.
Understanding Hospital Liens
Let’s consider a scenario. The at-fault driver’s insurance offers you $20,000 to settle your car accident case, but the hospital has filed a lien for $6,000. If you hadn’t used your health insurance and the hospital placed a lien, the insurance company would pay the hospital $6,000 out of the settlement. This reduces your net settlement amount to $14,000.
Optimizing Your Settlement
Using your health insurance to pay the hospital bill avoids the lien situation. If you had utilized your health insurance, you would receive the full $20,000 from the insurance company settlement, as the hospital bill is already settled. While your health insurance provider may seek reimbursement (subrogation) for the bill they paid, these claims are usually much smaller than the hospital lien.
Benefits of Using Health Insurance
Opting for health insurance to cover your hospital bill not only avoids a potential lien but also ensures you receive the full settlement amount. It’s a practical choice that leaves you with a more substantial sum to address your needs after the accident.
When to Go to the Emergency Room After a Car Accident?
Going to the emergency room after a car accident depends on injury severity. Studies emphasize immediate medical attention for head injuries, spinal trauma, internal injuries, broken bones, and life-threatening injuries. Prompt evaluation is crucial to prevent complications.
Head injuries, even seemingly mild concussions, can have serious consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research describes that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) contribute to a significant number of emergency room visits annually, underlining the importance of prompt medical evaluation.
Neck and Spinal Injuries
Neck and spinal injuries, such as whiplash, might not be immediately apparent. The Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy emphasizes the need for early intervention, as delayed treatment can lead to prolonged recovery.
Internal injuries, including bleeding or organ damage, may not exhibit immediate symptoms. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports internal injuries are often underestimated in the initial assessment, highlighting the necessity of prompt medical attention.
Abdominal Pain or Swelling
Abdominal pain or swelling could be indicative of internal injuries. Quick medical evaluation is necessary to identify and address potential abdominal trauma, as delaying treatment may lead to more severe complications.
Chest Pain or Breathing Difficulties
Chest injuries may lead to breathing difficulties. The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends immediate evaluation, as chest injuries can have serious implications on respiratory function.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Fractures and broken bones require timely treatment to prevent complications associated with delayed care. Quick intervention is necessary to set bones properly, reduce pain, and initiate the healing process.
Recognizing the psychological impact of a car accident is crucial for comprehensive recovery. Seeking immediate medical and mental health support is vital, as highlighted in the recent report by the National Institute of Mental Health. This report underscores the importance of prompt intervention in addressing emotional distress, preventing long-term mental health issues, and ensuring a holistic approach to overall well-being.
Should I Keep Getting Medical Treatment If I Am Feeling Better?
Yes, it is advisable to continue medical treatment even if you start feeling better after a car accident. Injuries may not always manifest symptoms immediately, and some conditions might have delayed onset. Continuing medical treatment allows healthcare professionals to monitor your recovery, identify any potential complications, and ensure that you fully heal.
Additionally, consistent medical documentation of your treatment is crucial for any insurance claims or legal proceedings related to the accident. It’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s advice and attend all scheduled appointments to guarantee a thorough recovery process and address any underlying issues that may arise.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After Getting Into a Car Accident?
Yes, hiring a lawyer after a car crash is often advisable. Studies by the Insurance Research Council show that people who hire a car accident attorney receive, on average, three and a half times more compensation than those who handle claims without legal representation.
A lawyer can navigate complex legal procedures, negotiate with insurance companies, assess the true value of your case, and ensure you get fair compensation. They also play a crucial role in gathering evidence, assessing damages, and representing your interests in court if needed. Legal assistance increases the likelihood of obtaining fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, making it a wise decision for many accident victims.
Hurt In A Car Accident? Contact Our New York Car Accident Lawyer Today!
Suffering from the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, but you’re not alone. Uptown Injury Law Firm, PLLC, New York car accident attorneys are here to offer guidance and support throughout your recovery journey. Remember these essential steps:
✅ Immediate Medical Attention – Your health comes first. Seek medical attention immediately without delay to ensure your injuries are properly assessed and treated.
✅ Prompt Action – As soon as you’re able, reach out to us to discuss your car accident case. Our team is ready to provide the assistance you need.
We understand the complexities of car accident claims and are committed to helping you navigate the process. Here’s why choosing us can make a significant difference:
✅ Extensive Experience
Our car accident lawyers boast years of experience. We’re well-equipped to assist you in filing personal injury claims or challenging unjustly denied or undervalued claims from insurance companies.
✅ Impressive Track Record
Our dedication to clients has led to over $100 million recovered in verdicts and settlements. So, you can trust that we’re determined to secure the compensation you deserve.
✅ No Win, No Fee
We understand the financial strain of legal proceedings. To ensure fairness and accessibility, our New York lawyers work on a contingency fee system. This means you won’t pay us unless we win your case.
What if I’ve Waited Too Long to See a Doctor?
If you’ve delayed seeking medical care, seeing a doctor is still important. Waiting might complicate your injuries, but early treatment can still help manage issues effectively.
How Long After a Car Accident Do You Have to Go to the Hospital?
After being involved in a car accident, visiting a doctor within 72 hours is advisable. This early assessment helps ensure any accident-related injuries are identified and addressed. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, seeking medical evaluation is a wise decision.
What Are the Signs of Internal Injury After an Accident?
After an auto accident, watch for signs such as abdominal pain, dizziness, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Recognizing these signs is crucial. Moreover, seeking prompt medical care is essential to assess and address potential internal injuries.
Should You Go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care After a Car Accident?
For critical or life-threatening injuries sustained in a car accident, it’s essential to head to the emergency room for immediate treatment. While non-life-threatening concerns can be addressed at urgent care centers. Regardless of your decision, seeking medical evaluation is vital for accurate diagnosis and proper care.
Should I Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident Even if I’m Not Hurt?
Yes, going to the hospital after a car accident is crucial, even if you feel fine initially. Numerous studies show that injuries may not be immediately apparent, and prompt medical attention ensures hidden issues are identified, preventing potential complications.
What Symptoms Are Normal After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, it’s normal to experience symptoms such as soreness, headaches, minor bruising, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. Additionally, muscle stiffness and changes in sleep patterns may occur. However, if these symptoms persist or worsen, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to identify any hidden injuries and ensure comprehensive care.
What Steps Should I Take Immediately After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, prioritize safety, call emergency services at 911, exchange information with the other party, and document the scene with photos and videos. Additionally, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial, even if you feel fine initially.
What Should I Do if the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Denies My Claim?
If the at-fault driver’s insurance denies your claim, consult with a car accident lawyer. They can review your case, negotiate with the insurance company, and guide you on the appropriate legal steps to seek fair compensation.
Is It Normal to Have a Headache After a Car Accident?
Yes, it is common to experience a headache after a car accident due to the impact on the neck and head. However, if the headache persists or worsens, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to rule out any underlying injuries and ensure comprehensive care.
Can I Still File a Claim in New York if the Car Accident Was Partially My Fault?
Yes, New York follows a comparative negligence rule, allowing you to file a claim even if the car accident was partially your fault. However, the compensation you receive may be reduced based on your percentage of fault. Consult with a car accident lawyer in New York to understand how these laws specifically apply to your situation and evaluate the viability of your claim.