Not seeing a doctor can harm you – and your case
You’ve been in a car accident. It’s a jarring experience for anyone, but luckily, you seem to be okay so you decide not to see a doctor or accept any medical attention. But while you are taking a number of other important steps in the immediate aftermath of your crash — calling the police, contacting your insurance company, collecting driver information, and consulting with a lawyer – your failure to seek medical treatment may be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Getting medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident is important not only for your health and well-being, it can be crucial in the event that you decide to seek compensation for your injuries.
SOME INJURIES AREN’T IMMEDIATELY APPARENT
Often, people who are in car accidents don’t seek medical attention only to discover much later that they have actually sustained an injury. For example, brain injuries are notoriously difficult to detect. You may suffer a head trauma in a car collision, but symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and confusion may not present themselves until further down the road. Having a doctor evaluate your condition immediately can help you determine what steps you need to take, and what medical care and treatment may be necessary to help you heal.
Additionally, insurance companies may try to get you to settle right away, well before you understand the true toll an accident will have on your life, including the extent of medical treatment and rehabilitation necessary. Without medical advice, you may settle for far less than you need to compensate you for the true medical costs of the injury sustained.
YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT CAN BE KEY IN YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
Visiting a medical professional as soon as possible will create the most accurate and most complete record of the severity and extent of your injuries. Wounds heal, bruises fade, and memories lapse. Medical records don’t. The more time that passes between your accident and your doctor’s visit, the harder it may be to prove that your injuries are the result of the accident.
It’s also a good idea to keep track of all medical expenses and related costs starting from the time of the accident. This will provide critical information and evidence to present to your lawyers, the insurance company or other parties involved with your claim.
Once you have taken care of your immediate medical needs, it is extremely important to then contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Under Indiana law, you must file a personal injury or wrongful case within two years of the date of the accident or within two years of discovering the injury. Failure to file a lawsuit within this timeframe may result in you losing your claim entirely.