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Why it’s Crucial to Get Medical Evaluation After an Accident

Paul D. Fitzgerald, Attorney At Law March 7, 2022

If you’ve just been involved in a roadway accident, but you don’t feel that you’ve been injured, should you get a medical evaluation anyway?

An adrenaline rush following a car accident might mask the pain from any injury you sustained. Couple that with the fact that some injuries simply don’t show up until hours, days, or even weeks later, and the best advice is always to seek medical evaluation and care immediately.

Beyond the personal factor of your well-being, there are practical considerations as well for seeking immediate medical attention.

The quicker you can get evaluated, the better your chances will be of prevailing in a claim against the other driver’s insurance company for medical expenses and any lost wages because of your injuries. If you delay too long, the insurer can use that to assert that you aren’t as injured as you claim to be.

If you or a loved one has been injured – or exposed to injuries – through an accident with another vehicle in or around Glendale, California, contact me at Fitzgerald Law. I am an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight for your right to just compensation for your injuries, losses, and pain and suffering. Together, we can hold the responsible party accountable.

Fitzgerald Law proudly serves clients throughout Glendale, Burbank, Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, and the San Gabriel Valley in California.

Common Types of Car Accident Injuries

Being struck by another vehicle can cause all kinds of violent motions and physical contact with objects inside your vehicle. As a driver, you can be jerked back, forth, and sideways, sometimes even hitting the steering wheel before being stopped by an airbag.

Loose objects like coffee mugs can fly about and strike you or your passengers. Passengers can be thrust into the dashboard. Even worse things can happen if you or your passengers aren’t using your seatbelts.

The most common types of vehicular injuries can be broken down into five categories:

Soft Tissue Injuries: Damage to the body’s connective tissues – muscles, ligaments, and tendons – is considered a soft tissue injury. Whiplash is considered a soft tissue injury as it affects the neck and upper back. Mid-back and low-back sprains are also considered soft tissue injuries.

Scrapes and Cuts: These can result from collisions with objects inside the vehicle. Generally, cuts and scrapes are fairly superficial, but if they are more serious, stitches may be required.

Head Injuries: When your car is impacted, your head can be thrown about in different directions, resulting in muscle sprains to the neck, back, and maybe to the head itself. There may be bruises or cuts, but a concussion can also result. Serious impact can sometimes lead to lasting brain damage known as traumatic brain injury. A warning sign is if you “blackout” after the impact, even for a brief period.

Chest Injuries: Injuries to the chest can result from colliding with the steering wheel or the dashboard. The result can range from bruises to broken ribs and internal injuries. Seatbelts themselves can also sometimes cause chest injuries.

Arm and Leg Injuries: The impact of a collision can also throw your arms and legs about, thrusting them against doors, the dashboard, or the seat in front of rear passengers. The result can be scrapes, bruises, sprains, or even broken arms and legs.

Reasons to Seek Medical Attention

First and foremost is your health and well-being. Any collision, except for maybe a scratch on the front fender, has the potential to cause injuries that may or may not be immediately apparent. Though it’s often tough to get a same-day or even next-day appointment, you should arrange for a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Don’t let any potential injuries worsen to the point where the pain accelerates or the treatment options get more serious.

When it comes to filing an insurance claim, “as soon as possible” doesn’t mean two weeks later in the eyes of an insurance company. Generally, to file a claim for injuries against the at-fault driver’s insurance, you’re facing about a 72-hour window for the exam. Insurance companies use that threshold as a gauge into how seriously you’re injured. If you wait past three days, the insurer will start getting suspicious when you file your claim.

Seeing a physician or medical group is also necessary to have the documentation needed to file your claim for personal injury. You’re not only going to have to show proof of your injury to the insurer, but you’re also going to have to document the expenses you’ve incurred.

Following Your Treatment Plan

If you are injured and your physician or medical group says you’ll need physical therapy twice a week or recommends another regimen, you’ll need to make sure you follow your treatment plan to the letter. Insurance companies have a way of checking up on you to see if you’re injured. Skipping prescribed treatment can raise suspicion that you’re not as injured as you say.

Getting Experienced Legal Guidance

When injured in a car accident, it’s not only essential to seek professional medical help, but also legal counsel and advice as well.

If you try dealing with the insurance company and their claims adjusters all by yourself, they’re going to try to get you to say something that they can use to challenge your claim, pin the fault on you, and lowball or deny your settlement. Let an experienced personal injury attorney deal with the insurers and their claims adjusters.

Call me immediately at Fitzgerald Law if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident. I will listen to your story, investigate, and assemble all necessary evidence to press forward with a claim against the at-fault driver. If negotiations with the insurer come up short, we can always pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

I proudly serve clients in Glendale, Burbank, and Los Angeles, as well as throughout the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley in California.