The truth is that when a person has been involved in an accident of any magnitude, such as a traffic accident, the aftermath can be utterly overwhelming. The accident victim’s adrenaline is pumping, which can mask any pain, and the person may not be able to clearly recall exactly what happened in the first place. Accidents are chaotic, and those involved are likely to be unsure about how best to proceed.
While a person may think that he or she was not injured and might be tempted to ignore the issue of personal health and simply hope for the best, this strategy is not going to benefit the individual or a potential personal injury claim. There are a variety of critical reasons that support the importance of seeking a medical evaluation after an accident.
Very Serious Injuries Can Initially Be Symptom-Free
When an individual is exhibiting serious symptoms, he or she is far more likely to seek the necessary medical attention when needed, which is as soon after the accident as possible. There are, however, certain kinds of injuries that do not present with symptoms until the injury becomes more serious and more difficult to effectively treat. Examples can include:
- Spinal cord injuries that can become incrementally more painful over time
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions, which can be exceptionally dangerous and difficult to diagnose
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, that can be slow to develop
- Internal injuries that can hide in plain sight
Because early diagnosis is directly related to an improved prognosis, seeking medical attention after an accident is always in the potentially injured person’s best interest.
Protecting the Victim’s Health and Personal Injury Claim
The importance of seeking a medical evaluation after an accident cannot be overstated. Not only is it the right thing to do for the accident victim’s health and well-being, but it is also important for any potential personal injury claim. The fact is that the insurance company handling the claim, while paid to cover losses or legal damages, is in the business of making a profit. As such, an insurance company will be motivated to settle a claim for as little as it can possibly manage. By seeking immediate medical attention and carefully following the doctor’s instructions from the outset, an accident victim demonstrates to the insurance company that he or she is taking the injuries suffered as a result of a policyholder’s negligence seriously—and that the company should, too. By seeking a medical evaluation after an accident that was caused by someone else, the victim documents the consequences of the at-fault party’s negligence, which will play a pivotal role in a personal injury claim going forward.
Related Medical Expenses
When a person has been injured by someone else’s negligence, the losses that he or she may experience can be overwhelming. Even a relatively minor injury can have lasting health implications that require ongoing medical attention. By addressing the injuries early on with a medical evaluation, an accident victim can help to establish those potential future healthcare needs as part of the current claim. Once a personal injury claim settles, there will be no further legal recourse to recover any related financial losses, including those from any ongoing medical treatments.
No two accident claims are ever identical, but there are some basic factors that apply across all such claims. If, for example, an individual was injured by another driver’s negligence in a car accident, the emergency medical professionals at the scene will offer the victim assistance and may transport the injured person to the emergency room. In this scenario, there is no question that the victim of the car accident will receive a prompt medical evaluation. If the person’s injuries are not as obvious or if the accident was a minor fender bender, the decision to seek a medical evaluation may be left up to the accident victim.
Making the Right Decision
The shock of being involved in a motor vehicle accident can leave a person feeling dazed and uncertain at best. In that state, an accident victim may likely not in the best condition to make serious decisions about his or her health. However, by recognizing the importance of seeking a medical evaluation after an accident and making it a personal policy to err on the side of caution after any accident (regardless of how serious), you can help to protect both yourself and your potential accident claim.