Most people are pretty tough. Most are also careful with their money. If you’re sick or injured, you’re probably going to try to get better on your own before going to the doctor. For one, you don’t want to be a bother. Two, you don’t want to be bothered. And three, if the doctor’s visit doesn’t cost you a lot of money, it’ll certainly cost time and convenience.
For these reasons and more, many people refuse the police officer’s suggestion to call an ambulance after a car accident. And many more decide against going to the ER or following up with a doctor about their injuries. After an accident, the adrenaline is pumping, the injuries might not be apparent, and you’re thinking more about how you’re going to get around without a car and what all this will cost than about your health.
Get Treated Immediately
1. You don’t know the extent of your injuries
Most car accidents don’t result in broken bones, however, that does not mean you’re not injured. You could have a ruptured disc and not know it. You could have soft tissue damage throughout your neck or torn ligaments throughout your shoulder and not know it. You could have contusions that aren’t blueing yet, hernias that aren’t hurting yet. Hey, you could even have a broken bone and not know it. A recent car crash victim found she had multiple fractures throughout her ankle and foot when she initially suspected a sprain.
The point is, you need to go to a doctor right away to make sure you’re in one piece, and if you’re not, to get the treatment you need to put you back in one piece. You’ll heal faster and you’ll prevent further injury.
2. Your health is more important than saving a few bucks
The cost of healthcare is real. But so is insurance. Most car insurance policies have some coverage for medical expenses (sometimes referred to as “med pay.” It’s not dependent on liability and is usually easy to access from both insurance companies- yours and the other driver’s). Use it! That’s what it’s for -- that’s why you pay your premiums. And if the accident wasn’t your fault, your premiums shouldn’t go up.
If you’re concerned the ambulance ride and treatment in the ER will cost more than the med pay coverage, you’ve got health insurance. Use it! That’s what it’s for -- that’s why you pay your premiums. Sure, you might save yourself a few bucks by avoiding a copay or a deductible, but the amount you save is not worth risking your health. Also, the chances are that you’ll recover your out-of-pocket expenses from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, just like your insurance company will recover its payment (or a portion of its payment) for your medical expenses.
The caveat here is that the at-fault driver might not have car insurance, or not enough to cover your injuries. In that case, you’d want to look at your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which is a topic unto itself. If that’s the situation you’re in, you would be wise to hire a personal injury lawyer. He’ll be able to help you break through the web of inadequate coverage issues and underinsured claims.
3. The value of your case can be damaged by delays and gaps in treatment
Whatever money you save by declining treatment and choosing instead to tough it out, you’re going to lose in terms of the value of your personal injury claim. Delays in treatment and gaps in treatment decrease the value of a case, because it makes it easy for the insurance company or the attorney for the insurance company to downplay your injuries, to cast doubt on them, and to question your integrity.
“You say you were injured in this accident, but you didn’t see a doctor until five weeks later,” they’ll say.
“How do we know you weren’t injured at the gym in the five weeks between the accident and the doctor’s visit?”
You can try to explain that you wanted to try and get better before going to the doctor, and you thought it would get better, and you just didn’t know at the time how hurt you were. Those are all perfectly reasonable explanations. But the insurance company's attorneys are going to cast doubt on weather you were actually injured from the given incident. So, get treatment immediately, and continue treating consistently until you're better or a doctor says you’re as good as you’re going to get (the term is “Maximum Medical Improvement”).
Get a Personal Injury Lawyer
Get a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been in an accident. There are factors that a seasoned attorney sees regularly that most people just don’t consider. And there are insurance adjusters who will exploit that. With a personal injury lawyer at your side, you case will be taken seriously and you will have a better chance getting the compensation you deserve.