Many crash victims wonder if they should go to the hospital right away. The injuries are apparent and visible for some, and medical treatment is the only choice. Unfortunately, some people are injured but don’t realize it until later. Those folks then delay treatment until the pain arises and becomes unbearable.
Our team of personal injury professionals always recommends immediate medical evaluation as soon as possible after a crash. If you don’t quickly present to your doctor or an emergency department, the insurance company will claim you weren’t hurt. They’ll use that claim to avoid paying you what you deserve. After your crash, simply seeing a doctor is probably the best thing for you.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE INJURED?
A crash can leave you with more questions than answers. Are you hurt? Is anyone else injured? What exactly happened? What should I do next?
The most important first thing is to stay calm. Take a breath, assess the situation, and think about the next step: evaluating injuries and safety. Is anyone hurt? Can you safely remain where you are? Should you stay where you are?
If you have broken bones or feel significant sharp pain, you should remain in the car until help arrives. Airbags are packed with a drying agent that smells like smoke. You might think your car is on fire immediately after the airbags deploy. Take a second to decide whether you’re at risk of burning. If a fire is a risk, safely and smoothly move away from your car.
Contact 911 as soon as you can. Some new cars will allow you to call 911 through the vehicle if you can’t use your phone. If need be, you can ask a passerby to call for help. Always call for emergency help following an accident. Even if you were not injured, you would eventually need a collision report from local law enforcement.
Calling 911 will also summon emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to stabilize you and any other injured persons. They can also transport you to the nearest emergency room for evaluation and treatment.
WHAT IF YOUR CAR ACCIDENT INJURY DOES NOT SEEM SERIOUS?
A car left in the middle of the road is at risk for another collision. If you can safely move without causing yourself additional injuries, then get to safety. If your vehicle won’t drive, get out and move somewhere safe.
Call 911 and ask for EMS if you were injured. It would be best if you underwent an initial evaluation of your injuries at the scene. Follow the EMT’s recommendations. An ambulance ride can be expensive, so many people have a friend or family member take them to an emergency department or urgent care for further evaluation.
WHAT IF YOU THINK THAT YOU WERE NOT INJURED IN A CRASH?
Injury symptoms may not develop for hours or even days. In a car crash, your body does its best to protect you from trauma by releasing a sudden surge of adrenaline. This hormone protects you from harm by triggering the “fight or flight” response when you’re in danger.
Adrenaline causes several self-preservation responses, including:
- Increased energy
- Reduced pain
- Dilated blood vessels and airways to increase the flow of oxygen
- Increased strength from increased blood flow going to your muscles
- Changes in your vision and hearing that focus on sights and sounds ahead of you
Right after the crash, your body floods your blood stream with endorphins that make you feel calm controled. These endorphins also affect the way you respond to pain and stress. In many cases, you don’t start feeling pain after a car accident until your adrenaline and endorphins wear off, and you can relax.
IT CAN TAKE TIME FOR CAR ACCIDENT INJURIES TO APPEAR.
In addition to adrenaline masking injury symptoms after a car crash, related pain can develop as your body settles back down after the trauma.
When you’re in a car crash, your body moves at the same rate of speed as the vehicle. At impact, your car stops, but your body continues moving until you’re stopped by a seatbelt, airbag, or barrier. That’s what causes soft tissue damage, such as whiplash and muscle strain. These ligament or muscle strains take time to develop as inflammation, swelling, and stiffness take time to show up.
Many crash victims also experience spinal trauma to their intervertebral discs. These discs act as cushions between vertebral bones and give you spinal flexibility. Disc damage can include tears, bulges, and hernias. These injuries often put pressure on nerves and the surrounding tissues, resulting in pain.
Typical delayed symptoms following a car crash can include:
- Blurry vision or dizziness;
- Difficulty remembering things or problems concentrating;
- Trouble sleeping;
- Back or shoulder pain;
- Neck stiffness;
- Numbness in your hands or feet;
- Reduced range of motion.
An early diagnosis of car crash injuries can help speed up your recovery and reduce long-term pain and complications in the future. Always call the police after a crash. People often believe they have no injuries, only to discover later they were wrong.
HOW LONG CAN YOU WAIT TO GO TO A HOSPITAL OR EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT?
You should see a doctor if you have any pain, bruising, or aches after a crash. The best advice is to see a doctor even if you were not injured. As we discussed above, symptoms often show up days after the accident.
A lot of crash victims don’t notice their injuries right away. After an accident, the involved people are often overwhelmed with exchanging info, taking photos, getting witness names, speaking with officers, firefighters, EMTs, and more. Many injured people don’t feel pain or recognize injury warning signs. All this is to say that you can present to a doctor later when you realize you were injured in the collision.
See a doctor as soon as you believe that you were hurt. You must seek care as soon as you can after realizing that the crash damaged you. A lot of people wait for the pain to go away. Get help from a doctor ASAP.
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR AFTER A CRASH?
Medical treatment will help you heal faster and more thoroughly. Waiting for treatment can increase healing time and prevent you from fully healing. See a doctor anytime you are in a car accident. Be honest and describe everything that happened and everything you are feeling. Too many people minimize their pain.
INJURY SYMPTOMS TAKE TIME TO SHOW UP AFTER A CRASH.
Many serious car crash injuries are not apparent, and injury symptoms develop slowly. Traumatic brain injury or an internal injuries are two of the most extreme examples. Less severe but long-term injuries such as torn ligaments, sprained muscles, or nerve damage may not be noticeable at first. Still, after a few hours, you will likely experience swelling, pain, and decreased range of motion.
GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST CHANCE AT RECOVERY.
The sooner you can see a medical professional, the earlier you receive helpful treatment. Whether you need surgery, immobilization, or other medical treatment, your treatment team will get you the help you need as soon as possible. Early treatment can prevent you from suffering permanent damage or an extended recovery process that can arise if your condition worsens.
PROTECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHT TO COMPENSATION.
It can be a challenge to seek compensation for accident related losses if you do not seek medical care for that injury. The sooner you get medical treatment for your injuries, the stronger your claim for damages will be. When an attorney helps you prepare an insurance claim after an accident, they need evidence not only of the accident but also of your injuries, treatments, and the timeline for your recovery.
WHAT ARE COMMON MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT INJURIES?
Car crash injuries vary depending on where a person sat in the vehicle, what they were doing just before impact, the force of the collision, and the unusual reaction of the victim’s body. In one crash, some victims go unhurt while others die.
- Common motor vehicle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain damage;
- Head and neck injuries;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Back injuries;
- Soft tissue injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Internal injuries;
- Dislocations and fractures;
HOW MUCH MONEY DO CRASH VICTIMS GET?
Your compensation after a crash depends on a lot of factors. If another driver caused the collision, you could seek compensation from their insurance policy. You can also sue the person who caused the accident if they didn’t have enough insurance. Most car accident claims settle through insurance negotiations. Sometimes, however, you may need to file a lawsuit to force the insurance company to do the right thing.
There are different categories of compensation after an injury car crash, including:
- Medical treatment costs and future medical expenses for your injuries;
- Loss of income if you were unable to work or had to do lower-paying work;
- Pain and suffering, including mental and emotional injuries;
- Property damage to your personal property, such as a vehicle.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CALL A CAR CRASH LAWYER?
If you suffer a motor vehicle crash, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The costs of serious injuries can be overwhelming.
Insurance companies have the advantage when dealing with car crash victims. The insurance carrier and its representatives are very good at convincing crash victims to take less in compensation than they deserve. In cases where their insured says you’re at fault, insurers will often deny your claim altogether.
A car accident attorney is your best protector. You’re going against professionals, and you need a professional on your side. Our team will protect your rights against the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve. We’ll evaluate the facts and circumstances of the accident and your injuries and calculate the damages you deserve for your losses. Then we’ll go to battle for you.
Our attorneys will work with you to negotiate your insurance claim. Your case will likely resolve during the claims process, and we will reach a settlement agreement that meets your needs.
James Oliver and Natalie Durflinger founded Durflinger Oliver in 2010 to protect clients and guide them to the best possible results. They’ve built a team of like-minded professionals devoted to providing peace of mind and great resolutions.