Sometimes questions around legal issues can have varying answers, but in this case, the answer is a resounding: Yes, you should seek medical attention after a car accident even if you think you’re not hurt. Read on to learn why and what other information you need if you may have been injured in a car accident.
Why Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
You should seek medical attention after a car accident because many injury symptoms don’t appear immediately. You could have internal injuries that don’t manifest until later. You may also have pain that may not be apparent at first.
Another reason is that a car accident can be traumatic, depending on its severity. You may be somewhat in shock and not as aware of physical issues as you usually would be. Be sure to tell the doctor you’ve been in a car accident because they’ll have specific injuries they’ll test for when they know that. Some injuries, such as spinal cord injuries, may not have symptoms right away. Still, if they’re not immediately caught and treated, the injuries can worsen and leave more permanent damage than if they’d been treated as soon as possible.
Even if the tests are negative, you may have symptoms crop up days or weeks later, at which point you should return to the doctor. Injuries sustained in a car accident don’t always appear right away. Documenting them via medical records could help your case. Without medical records, the other driver’s defense might be that the injuries existed before the accident because there’s no record of them afterward.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Be Caused by a Car Accident?
The list is long and varied both in terms of type and severity. It can include anything from a few scrapes or bruises to a disability, loss of a limb, or even death. Some conditions may heal independently, while others could require surgery and long-term rehabilitation treatments, such as physical and occupational therapy, to fully or partially recover.
The following is not an all-inclusive list but provides some idea of the range of injuries that can happen in a car accident:
- Spinal cord injuries. These types of injuries can cause permanent damage. Paralysis may occur, and it can be severe, such as quadriplegia.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). This happens when there’s a sharp blow to the head. There are different forms of TBIs (a concussion is one), and they vary in severity. This is another condition where symptoms don’t always appear right away. It may result in anything from a headache and dizziness to more severe and potentially long-term symptoms, such as slurred speech, loss of cognitive function, confusion, and even coma.
- Broken bones. Broken bones are more likely to be noticed quickly, depending on which bones are broken, because they’re usually accompanied by pain and an inability to use the body parts where the broken bones are.
- Whiplash. This results from the body being harshly moved back and forth and is common in rear-end accidents. It can lead to back and neck pain, dizziness, blurred vision, or in severe cases, memory problems or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Nerve damage. This can show up as unusual sensitivity and pain, tingling in the limbs, dizziness, inability to speak, loss of strength, or paralysis.
- Soft tissue injuries. This is bruising, pain, and decreased range of motion that usually start appearing a few hours or days after an accident.
- Burns and scarring. Damage to the skin can leave scarring or even require complex medical treatment such as skin grafting. Some scarring can be permanent.
- Amputation. In severe car accidents, a person’s arm or leg may become trapped in the vehicle in such a way that it must be removed from the body. The injury could also stop the flow of blood to the limbs and lead to medical conditions such as gangrene that lead to amputation as well. Losing a limb(s) is obviously a significant life change for the amputee.
- Internal bleeding. Internal bleeding can occur anywhere in the body, including the lungs and brain. In its mildest form, it may present no symptoms and heal on its own. However, it can also cause severe pain, dizziness or fainting, headaches, or seizures. This can be one of the most severe injuries sustained in a car accident.
What Should I Do if it Turns Out I Was Injured in a Car Accident?
Call us at 782-824-3371 to set up a free case review. Personal injury claims can be complex to sort out. If you’ve been injured, you deserve to receive damages for your injuries, especially if the other driver was wholly or mostly at fault. We’re the only law firm in Atlantic Canada with a practicing physician in-house.
One thing you should not do: Talk to the other driver’s insurance company or attorney. They represent the other side of the case, and their primary goal is to pay out as little as possible and assign as much fault to you as they can. They will try to get you to say things that can be construed as your accepting fault or that the injuries weren’t as severe as they really were. They may also try to get you to accept a much lower settlement than what you should take. If they do try to contact you, refuse to discuss the case with them and refer them to your attorney instead.