In the United States, there are an average of 6 million car accidents every year.
Being involved in a car accident can often be a shocking and traumatizing experience. That’s why it’s so important to know what to do after a car accident injury before you actually end up in one.
Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about car accident injuries so that you can be prepared.
Accept Medical Treatment
Many times, when it comes to an accident sustained from a car wreck, you don’t really start to experience severe symptoms until days later. Treating the injury as early as possible is one of the best ways to reduce future pain. Because of this, you should think twice before refusing medical attention at the scene of the accident.
The time right after the accident is not when you should be acting tough. If there are emergency responders on the scene, tell them everything that is affecting you, no matter how mild it is. Injuries like internal bleeding and head trauma are important to spot right away because they are potentially fatal.
If the paramedics want to take you to the hospital, strngly consider going with them. If you don’t end up going to the hospital, you should see your primary care physician as soon as possible. And if your doctor isn’t available, then you should visit either an urgent care clinic or the hospital emergency room.
Whoever your treatment provider is, be sure to tell them that you were in a car accident and describe to them how the accident occurred.
There are two reasons why it’s so important to seek medical attention immediately following a car wreck. First, as stated above, is to prevent potentially more severe pain or injury. Second, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the weaker your personal injury claim will become.
By waiting a long time, the insurance company may argue that some or all of your injuries were sustained after the time of the accident.
Look Out for Soft Tissue Injuries
When damage occurs to parts of your body other than a bone, this is referred to as a soft tissue injury. Injuries that are felt in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles are all soft tissue injuries.
Even a low-speed accident is powerful enough to generate a high amount of force. When an accident occurs, it usually results in a fast and sudden stop. When this happens, a lot of stress is placed on vulnerable parts of the body including joints.
The most well-known type of soft tissue injury is “whiplash”. Whiplash is when the head is suddenly thrown forward and then back, causing an injury to the neck muscles.
The important thing to realize is that symptoms of soft tissue injuries like whiplash can take weeks or even months to appear. If you think you might start experiencing whiplash symptoms soon, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor.
One problem with soft tissue injuries that you should be aware of is that it’s hard to verify just how bad the injury is. This kind of injury can make insurance companies reluctant to settle.
Continue Treatment Until You’re Told to Stop
If your doctor diagnoses an injury after a car accident has taken place, they will then begin you on a treatment. In most situations, you should continue to undergo this course of treatment until your doctor tells you it’s time to stop.
There are two primary reasons why it’s important that you continue your treatment all the way through. The first is that your doctor is in the best position to prescribe you specific treatment as well as determine how serious your injury is. Following your treatment as prescribed is the best way to a speedy recovery as well as help make you as comfortable as possible.
The second reason is that there will be a record of all the times that you visited your doctor. These records will confirm the extent and nature of your visits and also the timeframe and course of your treatment. Medical bills, as well as medical treatment, are a big part of damages in a personal injury case.
Go Over the Doctor’s Treatment Records
Once your doctor treats you for injuries related to a car accident, ask them for a copy of your medical records. You want to carefully review everything and make sure that your doctor can correct any errors.
Pay close attention to how the records describe your car accident. This description is typically one of the first parts in the records. Check to make sure that the doctor accurately described how the accident took place and they didn’t misunderstand any of the facts.
For example, does the report state that you were hit on the driver’s side, when in actuality you were hit on the passenger’s side? Does it say you were going 30 mph when you were really going 20 mph?
Although it can be cumbersome to comb through medical records like this, it’s absolutely necessary. These errors must be identified and fixed as the defense team and insurance adjusters on the other party’s side will otherwise use them to discredit your take on the accident.
Also, make sure that your medical records also state what your symptoms are. And lastly, check to be sure that your doctor got your medical history correct. If a doctor erroneously puts that you have a history of back problems, but you’ve actually never had a back issue in the past, then this is something that will have to be corrected.
The defense team always looks at your medical history in hopes of finding something like a pre-existing condition or earlier injury, so that they can point out that the accident didn’t actually cause your current symptoms.
You want to be as involved with the claims process as you can be so that your odds of winning are as high as possible.
Having detailed reports from both the police and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) will bring a lot of value to your personal injury case. A detailed police report will contain information about weather conditions, insurance information, witnesses, accident diagrams, and more.
The EMS report will detail your injuries and the type of medical care that you received immediately following the accident. These reports are great to have and can definitely strengthen a case, but they don’t contain everything. If you’re physically able, you’ll have to do some evidence gathering yourself too.
Take photos of everything related to the accident. Take photos of the location where the accident occurred. Also, snap some shots of the points of impact on both your car and the other party’s vehicle. Perhaps most importantly, take photos of yourself too.
Take a photo of wherever you were hit or injured. You should then take photos of these areas daily to chart their progress. It’s important to know how to document your injuries and other losses.
Collect Vital Information
If the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will most likely take care of this. However, if they don’t come for some reason, then it’s up to you to exchange information. After a car accident takes place, you’ll always want to collect the following information:
- The driver’s name, telephone number, address, work number, and email address
- The driver’s insurance company’s name, telephone number, and the driver’s policy number
- Contact information for everyone else in the other vehicle
- The make, model, Vehicle Identification Number, and license plate number of the other car
- The names and contact information of all the witnesses
Notify Your Insurance Company
No matter who was at fault, you should notify your insurance company after reporting the accident to 911. Practically all auto insurance policies come with a “notification clause” or FNOL (First Notice of Loss).
This clause typically means that you agree to alert your insurance company whenever there is damage or theft to the vehicle. You also agree to cooperate in the insurance company’s investigation.
By immediately notifying your insurance company, you might be able to take advantage of certain benefits including med-pay, coverage for a car rental, or car repair reimbursement.
Plus, when you notify your insurance company, they can often help to advise you on the next steps you need to take.
Be Prepared by Knowing What to Do After a Car Accident Injury
By knowing what to do after a car accident injury, you’ll be able to more quickly and effectively take care of yourself. It can be very easy to give up your rights or potential benefits when you are still dealing with the trauma of an accident.
The best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Interested in learning more? Contact us today and we’ll help you with all your car accident questions.
You can speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.