Car Accident Injuries and Medical Care
Thankfully, most car accidents don’t include catastrophic injuries. Most people walk away from a crash feeling they don’t need immediate medical attention. However, serious injuries don’t always display symptoms right away. Pain and complications may set in days or weeks later. It’s in your best interests to get checked out right away whenever you’re in a car accident.
What Causes the Delayed Onset of Injuries?
Many accident victims don’t immediately feel their injuries because of a hormone called adrenaline, also known as epinephrine. Adrenaline sets off your fight or flight instinct. Part of that task is preventing you from feeling pain until you have had time to remove yourself from danger. You may think you are fine, but once the hormone wears off, usually within a few days, you may find yourself in significant pain.
Without medical attention, within a few weeks, you may find more severe injuries, such as internal bleeding or a concussion, making themselves known.
Besides the implications for your health, failure to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident can damage your claim should you have to file a lawsuit. An insurance company could use the delay to claim that your injuries were not severe or even real.
How Soon Should I Seek Medical Care?
You should see a medical professional as soon as possible after an accident. The same day is best, but you should go within three days of the accident to avoid the risk of damaging your health and your claim. If you can’t see your regular doctor, go to the emergency room or a walk-in clinic.
If I Don’t Think I’m Injured, Should I Accept a Settlement?
If another party is at fault, the insurance company may ask you to accept a quick financial settlement and sign away your rights to any future claims. You should not sign anything until you’ve been examined by a medical professional. Wait several weeks to make sure all your injuries have had time to appear. Your doctor can help determine how long that is.
If you sign a release, you are giving up the right to any future claims that develop. You cannot go back and undo the statement once you’ve signed, so you must be sure of all the facts before you agree to anything.
If you’ve been in an accident, you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, before you sign anything. He or she can guide you through each critical step and help make sure you don’t do anything that puts your health or your claims at risk.