Why You Should Always See Your Physician After A Car Accident
You may think you’re fine, but your doctor can check for the hidden injuries often associated with car accidents.
Between two and three million people are injured in automobile accidents each year. In most cases, injuries are obvious and medical treatment is provided by emergency medical professionals at the scene and in nearby hospital emergency rooms. Many accident victims feel fine after that treatment. Most are. Some aren’t.
With certain kinds of injuries, the symptoms may take days or even weeks to develop. Sometimes the full impact of an obvious injury doesn’t emerge for several weeks or months.
Your primary care physician can check for these hidden injuries, and provide important baseline medical documentation should you need to file a personal injury claim to cover your medical bills and other expenses.
Some Injuries Are Deceiving
These are the most common latent injuries that can emerge after a car accident:
- Cervical Strain/Herniated Disc: The most common injury reported in rear-end crashes is a cervical sprain (whiplash) injury. In many cases, whiplash symptoms may take several days to emerge, and some people wait before seeing a doctor hoping the pain will go away. The quickness of the traumatic impact of a motor vehicle crash can be so extreme that your discs can bulge and even herniate. This puts pressure on the spinal nerves, triggering pain and inflammation. This can also cause numbness. All these injuries have the potential to manifest immediately or take weeks or months to show up.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: The violent change in posture (motion) — in addition to the quick head and neck movement during a crash — can cause a concussion, as can hitting one’s head on the steering wheel, side window, or some other object. Airbag deployment can also sometimes cause a concussion. A moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is when a person experiences changes in brain function for longer than a few minutes following trauma. A mild concussion requires rest and avoidance of strenuous activity. More serious TBI injuries may require additional testing and hospitalization.
- Knee Injuries: In an accident, all occupants are subject to uncontrolled body movement. The knee often comes in contact with the dashboard, for example, which can fracture the underlying bony tissue, as well as stretching and twisting the cartilage and ligaments of the knee. Sometimes what might feel like a minor sprain becomes more painful over time, and reflects an underlying and more serious knee injury.
- Shoulder Injuries: Similar to knee injuries, shoulder injuries are also common in car accidents. They often involve the exposed shoulder (not covered by your seatbelt), depending on whether you are the driver or passenger. This kind of soft tissue injury may disrupt sleep and make daily living activity difficult and painful.
- Trauma and Psychological Impacts: Individuals who have been involved in a serious car accident have also been traumatized. No one simply walks away from such an experience without psychological impacts. People respond to trauma differently. Some have skills and support, and others don’t. There has been significant research about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and how it can impact a person’s life over time if left untreated.
If you are concerned about an injury after a car accident, whether it’s described above or not, it’s important to see your primary care doctor as soon as you can.
And What Happens Then?
After you visited a doctor, if you are increasingly concerned about the long-term impact of your injuries on your life — and worried about how you will pay for medical care beyond the limits of your no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits — then you may want to discuss your situation with a personal injury lawyer.
The professionals at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can meet with you at your convenience, in a place that is most comfortable for you, including our offices, your home, or some other location. Senior Partner Eileen Kroll specializes in medical malpractice cases, and her training as a Registered Nurse is invaluable in evaluating your injuries for legal purposes. If we decide to work together, we may recommend that a particular specialist be seen, or a test conducted. This will provide us with indisputable evidence and testimony during settlement discussions, and if necessary, litigation in court.
After this free consultation, if we work together it will be a contingency fee agreement. This means that we don’t get paid anything until we achieve a settlement for you.
Contact us toll-free (24 hours) at 866-466-9912 or use our convenient online contact form.