Many people involved in car accidents are in shock immediately after the crash. As a result, people often feel like they are fine, don’t feel any pain, or assume that what little pain they have will go away soon. These people usually refuse to allow EMS to treat them or to go to a hospital. This can have serious consequences when trying to recover from injuries that manifest hours or days afterward.
I have many clients who are involved in a car crash and refuse any medical treatment at the scene of the crash, only to realize they are in serious pain hours or days later. This is common because our bodies have natural mechanisms that reduce pain immediately after a traumatic event. However, this can be a problem when people try to recover money for those injuries. Insurance companies commonly deny claims when people do not seek immediate medical treatment after a crash. Even if the claim is not denied entirely, insurance company lawyers commonly tell juries, “well if you were hurt so badly, why didn’t you take an ambulance to the hospital?”.
Here’s how to avoid this insurance company trap:
- Following a crash, ask for EMS to evaluate you immediately, even if you are unsure how you are feeling. They may find things that you are unaware of because you are too traumatized, or too busy checking on your passengers to worry about yourself. Often times car accident victims injuries have a delayed onset of symptoms, so it can be hard to know whether you sustained an injury in the accident until later, at which time, a gap in treatment has occured.
- If you do NOT get treated at the scene, immediately go to an urgent care or a hospital to get checked out. Even if you think you are feeling ok, diagnostic tests are a safe way to ensure that you don’t have something wrong that you are unaware of so soon after a crash.
- Seek medical attention as soon as something starts to bother you – and tell the treating doctor everything that you are experiencing, even if it seems minor to you at the time. You never know when a dull ache in your shoulder might actually be a torn ligament.
Although it may seem burdensome to seek immediate medical treatment, it far outweighs the consequences and is an easy way to protect yourself in the event that your injuries present themselves after the fact. You will be glad you did when an insurance company lawyer is trying to say you were not hurt, or are exaggerating your symptoms.
if you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s important to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer, so you know what your options are. Only a skilled attorney can help you understand the value of your case, and how best to proceed to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.