You must see a doctor after a minor car accident, even if you feel you were not hurt. Immediately after an accident, adrenaline pumps through your body, and you may not feel pain. However, getting checked as a precautionary measure helps you discover any injuries.
Even if you were involved in a low-speed accident that caused minor damage to the car, you might have suffered an injury that takes a few days to become apparent. After the initial visit, you can return for a check-up if any pain or injuries occur.
Seeing a doctor after a minor car accident helps you protect your right to compensation if you decide to file a claim.
After a car accident, however minor, it may be hard to think straight, and it can be difficult to establish liability. However, your injuries can help prove negligence.
Why Should You See a Doctor After a Minor Accident?
It is highly recommended you see a doctor after a car accident, regardless of how minor it was. Here is why:
Your Injuries are Worse That They Appear
Establishing the full scope of your injuries immediately after an accident can be challenging. If you are in shock, you will still be processing the collision and unable to determine damages.
However, it is difficult to establish a link between your injuries and the accident or previous incidents without medical attention.
Seeking medical attention allows you to determine the full extent of your injuries. It also allows you to receive proper care and treatment to ensure you recover fully. Injuries that go unnoticed are not managed effectively, which can lead to more damage.
Proof of Accident-Related Injuries
When you file a claim for compensation, the insurance adjuster and your attorney may want medical records to determine how much your claim is worth. Without evidence, an insurance company can deny your claim or offer you less compensation.
Seeing the doctor immediately after an accident allows you to establish proof of injuries. A medical report can prove that the accident worsened your condition even if you have previous injuries.
With detailed medical records, proving your case and getting fair compensation may be more straightforward.
Minor Injuries That Go Undetected Can Cause Long-Term Problems
If left untreated, many injuries get worse. These injuries may sometimes result in serious complications that need expensive treatment. Some may also cause long-term health issues impacting your finances, income, and quality of life.
However, seeing a doctor immediately after the accident allows you to get proper treatment and aftercare to prevent further damage. Your well-being should be a priority, even if the accident is minor. Getting a medical exam allows you to avoid potential long-lasting injuries.
Some Injuries You May Suffer from a Minor Accident
Car accidents range from minor to severe, life-threatening incidents. Often, victims dismiss injuries if the crash is minor or if they do not feel any pain. However, you may have suffered some of the injuries below.
- Whiplash: Whiplash leads to severe neck pain and limits your range of motion. If left untreated, whiplash can also cause chronic pain.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: A traumatic brain injury can lead to seizures, blood vessel damage, and infections.
Other injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Brain bleeds
- Nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
Most of these injuries, such as brain bleeds, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and nerve damage, can lead to severe complications and even death.
Do not brush off any symptoms after an accident. Minor symptoms such as headaches and dull pain may indicate serious injuries.
Your Body’s Response to Injuries After a Car Accident
A minor car crash can produce a great force that can send you into profound shock. The human body is not designed to withstand such impact, so you may suffer injuries. Even in a low-speed crash, victims are likely to suffer serious injuries.
No one ever sees an accident coming, so you do not have time to brace yourself for impact before being struck. During an accident, your body jerks violently, causing sudden impact, which may result in soft tissue injuries and whiplash.
When Should You See a Doctor After a Minor Accident?
If you do not think your injuries are severe enough for treatment, the insurance process to determine compensation should inspire you to see a doctor.
Even if you are in touch with an adjuster, your claim will likely be determined by a computer that automatically assigns a lower value to your claim if you do not have medical records.
Most insurance companies advise that you see a doctor 72 hours after an accident. Seeking medical attention within a reasonable time allows your doctor to establish whether your injuries resulted from the accident.
Once 72 hours have lapsed, your odds of getting fair compensation reduce significantly. If you cannot reach your primary doctor within a reasonable time, consider visiting the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.
How Do Medical Records Affect Your Insurance Claim?
If you plan to file a claim against the negligent party, your medical records play a critical role. Seeing your doctor immediately after the accident gives you accurate records detailing the full extent of your injuries and treatment expenses.
Without proof of injuries, the defendant and insurance adjusters can claim your damages are not related to the accident. The assumption is if you did not see a doctor following the crash, you were not hurt in the accident.
Insurance companies try to downplay victims’ injuries so they can pay as little as possible in compensation. In addition, the longer you wait to see the doctor, the more difficult it is to establish a connection between your injuries and the car crash.
Your medical documents act as proof that you suffered injuries from the accident. Ensure you take all the necessary steps after a car accident to strengthen your claim.
As discussed earlier, without medical documents, it is easy for the insurance adjuster to discredit your claim. Your claim could get complicated if you did not receive medical treatment within three days following a collision.
Insurers may be reluctant to compensate victims who wait too long to see treatment after an accident. The adjuster will likely dismiss your injuries as exaggerated or faked to receive more money in your settlement.
However, you can avoid such complications and get full and fair compensation by contacting a car accident attorney immediately after an accident. The lawyer can guide you on when to get medical attention, following your state laws and insurance recommendations.
An attorney can also establish liability, negotiate with adjusters, gather evidence, and get expert witnesses to evaluate the value of your claim. Even if you are partially liable for the accident, a lawyer can help you get the best outcome.
Remember, your health should be your primary concern, do not delay seeking medical attention after a minor car accident.