While many car accidents result in no more than property damage and minor personal injuries, car accidents often result in serious, life-changing personal injuries or the tragic loss of life. After an accident, it is essential to assume that you have injuries and that these injuries may not be as noticeable right after an accident. The rush of adrenaline that follows an accident will often mask the pain of a severe injury. Many internal injuries, head injuries, and acute soft tissue injuries may take days to exhibit symptoms.
Seeking immediate medical attention is an essential element in proving your damages in a car accident claim and establishing that the accident is responsible for your injuries. Don’t weaken your case by delaying medical care; here’s why it’s crucial to get treated right away.
Car Accident Injuries Are Not Always Obvious
Even low-speed car accidents can be traumatic to the body as there is a great deal of force involved. It’s common for people involved in a seemingly minor car accident to assume they are not injured because they do not notice any symptoms of injuries. This happens for several reasons.
Soft Tissue Injuries – Soft tissue injuries are injuries to any part of the body, aside from bone, including injuries to the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Car accidents often result in soft tissue injuries, especially neck injuries in which the muscles of the neck are damaged as the head is forcefully thrown back and forth.
While soft tissue injuries can be severe and cause reduced mobility, swelling, and pain, symptoms do not always appear right away. It can even take weeks after an accident for the extent of soft tissue injuries to become apparent. Also, these types of personal injuries will not show up on an X-ray.
Because soft tissue injuries are more difficult to diagnose and document, it’s vital that you receive medical treatment right away, even if you do not feel any pain.
Adrenaline – Car accidents are physiologically exciting as they cause the body to produce endorphins and adrenaline. These chemicals are capable of boosting energy and blocking pain. While you may feel very energetic, focused, and unhurt after a crash, you will likely begin to feel the extent of your injuries once the adrenaline and endorphins wane.
Head Injuries and Concussions – A concussion can happen when your head is struck or violently jolting, causing your brain to hit the inside of your skull. While concussions can be severe and lead to long-term effects, it’s not common for symptoms to be noticed immediately. Sometimes there are obvious symptoms of a concussion, such as losing consciousness or becoming disorientated, but the symptoms tend to be subtle.
You may have sustained a concussion if you have trouble concentrating, difficulty remembering new information, blurry vision, nausea, dizziness, low energy, and abnormal sleep.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
It may be tempting to wait a few days to see how you feel, especially if you’re hoping to avoid out-of-pocket medical expenses. Failing to seek immediate medical care can be detrimental to your injury claim, however. You can be absolutely sure that a delay in medical treatment will be used against you by the plaintiff’s attorney and the insurance company. Regardless of what type of injuries you may develop, this delay will be used to claim your injuries were not severe enough to require immediate care, you are faking your injuries, or the injuries are unrelated to your accident.
A personal injury lawsuit is designed to help a victim recover their actual losses, but the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. You will not be awarded compensation unless you can demonstrate compelling evidence of your losses and that they were related to the injuries.
Documentation Proves Your Damages and Causation
The best tool you can have to win a personal injury case is documentation of your losses. Seeking immediate medical attention allows you to provide proof of your injuries to the court, the defendant’s attorney, and the insurance company. This makes it far more difficult for the defense to claim your injuries are exaggerated.
Getting care right away also shows that your injuries are connected to the accident. If you wait even a few days, the defense will claim that your injuries could have been caused by an unrelated accident, such as falling down at home.
The Insurance Company Can Request a Medical Examination
Along with arguing that your injuries are not severe, the insurance company will likely require a medical examination by a doctor of their choice if there is a delay in treatment after the accident or if you do not follow doctor’s orders. In many cases, this doctor will say that soft tissue injuries take just weeks or months to heal, and you appear to have recovered because of the gap in care, and no more treatment is necessary. This is why it’s vital that you see a doctor immediately and follow all recommendations and care guidelines. If you are told that you can’t work and must rest, the insurance company will use this against you if you return to work or fail to return to the doctor.
Overcome Propaganda by the Insurance Industry
Unfortunately, car accident insurance carriers have spent a great deal of money to perpetuate the idea that many or most people who file personal injury claims exaggerate or fake their injuries or are greedy for bringing a claim for losses. Many people also have some concept of so-called “runaway juries” that award too much money to people who have been harmed by the actions of others.
This propaganda is something plaintiffs must overcome to settle a personal injury claim, even if the case does not go before a jury. This is because all injury settlements are based on what will probably happen at trial. If you do not seek immediate medical care and follow the doctor’s instructions, it only adds credibility to the defense’s claims that your injuries are insignificant and exaggerated.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney to Protect the Value of Your Accident Injury Case
Don’t assume you are okay after an accident. After seeking medical attention following your accident, the next step is seeking representation by an experienced car accident lawyer. Your injury attorney will serve as your advocate to negotiate with the insurance company or take your case to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
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