Should I Go To the Doctor After a Car Accident?
Posted on Friday, August 16th, 2019 at 8:36 am
You’re driving home from work one evening when you’re rear-ended on I-76. You’re irritated, but you don’t really feel like you’ve suffered any injuries. You’d rather continue on your way home, rather than going right to the emergency room or your doctor’s office.
What should you do? Is it important to see a doctor right after you get into a car accident in Philadelphia? Or, is it something that can wait?
Regardless of how you might feel, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you can after a collision. Here’s why.
You Might Not Realize You’ve Actually Gotten Hurt
Any car accident can cause extensive damage. A collision requires that at least one vehicle is moving. When cars are in motion, they have momentum. When they stop suddenly upon impact in a crash, that momentum doesn’t just disappear. Some of it is transferred to passengers.
This transfer of momentum can cause you to get jostled around in the car. Even though you might be wearing a seatbelt, your head is unsecured. As a result, your head may move back and forth rapidly, making you susceptible to whiplash injuries.
At the same time, the force of impact can cause your body to press against the seatbelt, creating a lot of pressure on your tissue and skin. If an airbag deploys, the force of the bag can cause some injuries while protecting you from more severe harm at the same time.
This can all happen in a split second. This can all result in internal injuries that might not be symptomatic right away, including:
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Broken bones
- Fractured ribs
- Sprains, strains, bruising, and other soft tissue damage
- Back and neck injuries, and more.
If you don’t go to a doctor right away, it could be days before you realize that you’ve gotten hurt. By then, your injury could’ve gotten much worse. You may be at risk of serious complications that put your health in danger.
A Trip to the Doctor Can Help to Establish Causation
If someone else is at least partly responsible for your car accident, you might be entitled to compensation. If you decide to file an injury claim or lawsuit, you’ll probably have to prove that another person was negligent. One key element of negligence is causation. You’ll have to establish that another person’s negligence caused you to get hurt.
When you go to the doctor after your car accident, there will be a record of your visit. Your medical record will list your injuries. This can help to link your injuries to the crash. If you go right away, the link between the crash and your injuries will be much stronger than if you wait.
If you don’t go right away, at-fault parties or insurance companies will argue:
- There’s no proof that your injuries are related to your car accident, or
- Your injuries got much worse because you delayed medical care.
If either of these arguments is successful, it could cripple your ability to recover much-needed compensation.
You Have a Duty to Mitigate Your Injuries
When you get hurt and someone else is to blame, you have a responsibility to mitigate your injuries. Mitigation means taking reasonable steps to prevent your injury from getting worse than it needs to be.
For example, let’s say you get into an accident and suffer a fractured rib. You don’t realize this, so you skip a trip to the hospital. You let your injury linger, and the fractured bone ends up puncturing your lung. All of sudden, your injury is much, much worse.
The person might be responsible for your broken rib. However, they’ll argue that you failed to mitigate your injuries, so they shouldn’t be responsible for your collapsed lung, pneumothorax, and resulting distress. Deciding to not get medical help after your accident could make it much more difficult to recover compensation.
How do you do mitigate your injuries? Getting medical treatment right away is a great first step. If your injuries are diagnosed promptly, you can get the necessary medical treatment and begin your road to recovery.