Why Seek Emergency Medical Care After a Car Accident?
After a car crash, some accident victims may refuse treatment at the scene, delay getting examined afterwards, or not get any medical care at all. This is a bad idea. It may harm not only your health, but also any potential claim for compensation. High Stakes Injury Law discuss getting medical care after a crash, including why seeking emergency medical care is often the best choice, as opposed to a primary care doctor or even urgent care facility. If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, we are prepared to help. Learn more about your legal options and whether you may have a valid case. Your initial consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation to hire our firm or file a claim.
Not All Doctors Provide the Same Level of Emergency Medical CareToday, there are many options for seeking emergency medical care after a traffic accident – urgent care centers, emergency rooms, even your own family doctor. No one likes to go to the emergency room, especially since you may get stuck waiting for a while before you are seen. Other than going to the emergency room, your options for getting medical care after a car crash could include:
- At the Accident Scene: Care received at the accident scene is incomplete and typically just to stabilize victims so they can be transported to a nearby hospital. Some crash victims may refuse treatment at the scene, usually because they believe they are not injured. However, making this decision after being involved in a crash is a bad idea. Crash victims are often in shock and unaware of a serious injury until later. Later can sometimes be too late, especially if the injury is internal.
- Family doctor visit: Some accident victims who appear to be okay may want to wait and see their own doctor. This is understandable - a doctor who knows you and your medical history is comforting, especially after a traumatic experience. However, you may not be able to get an appointment right away. Additionally, your family doctor may lack the expertise and high-tech equipment to properly diagnose some injuries. Most likely, if you call them to make an appointment, they may tell you to go to the emergency room.
- Urgent care center: There are urgent care centers everywhere these days, and often your insurance may cover the visit. If you are not badly injured, this may be okay. However, these centers may also not have the right equipment or level of medical expertise at the time you visit. Often, you may end up being told to go to the emergency room.
ERs May Often Provide Better Emergency Medical Care After a Car CrashAfter a car crash, the emergency room of a nearby hospital is often the best place for examination and treatment. ERs are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have both the equipment and medical staff on hand to diagnose and treat your injuries. Emergency room doctors also have specialized training and skills. They may be able to determine what and how serious your injuries are more quickly. For a car crash victim with unknown injuries, getting diagnosed and treated sooner may improve your chances for a full and faster recovery.
Explaining Your Injuries to the ER DoctorOnce you get to the emergency room, what you say to medical staff and especially the doctor matters. Do not downplay your injuries or say you are probably not hurt at all. Instead, explain more about the accident and your symptoms in ways that can help your doctor better understand where you may have been injured. This can help him or her determine if you need additional care or diagnostic testing. Here are additional tips to remember when speaking with your ER doctor:
Discuss Details About Your CrashProvide specific details about your crash to help the doctor better understand how you might have been injured. For example, if your car was rear-ended by another vehicle, you might say:
- Whether you were stopped or moving when the other vehicle hit yours
- You struck your head on the steering wheel or dashboard
- You were/were not wearing your seatbelt at the time
- Your stomach, shoulder, leg, etc. hit something hard in the vehicle
Describe Any Symptoms You Are HavingAfter a car crash, no symptom is too small. If you leave something out, it may take your doctor longer to find out what is wrong with you. You may, for instance, describe your symptoms in this way:
- You have a throbbing headache
- Your stomach feels nauseous, but you have not thrown up
- You feel dizzy or are having problems with vertigo (room spinning, lack of balance)
- Your vision is blurry
Disclose Pre-existing Conditions or Injuries When Seeking Emergency Medical CareWhile you may be afraid of disclosing information that you believe may hurt your claim, honesty is always best. When victims try to hide pre-existing injuries, several things may happen, none of them good:
- It risks your health because you may not get the medical care you need
- It may discredit your statements about the accident and make you look dishonest
- It can seriously damage your claim because you tried to hide important and relevant information
- Your medical records will not include documentation about a prior injury that was made worse by this accident