When you have been in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. For most people, this means a trip to the emergency room (ER). If you feel your injuries aren’t that serious, you might be tempted to skip the ER—but we urge you to consider going. The visit is valuable both for your health and for the outcome of any claims you might make in the future.
Why Go to the ER?
It happens all the time. Drivers are rear-ended in minor fender-benders, refuse medical treatment, and drive home from the accident scene. Then, they wake up with excruciating back or neck pain the next morning.
If you go to the ER right away, the highly trained doctors and nurses can evaluate you and tell you what to look out for if your symptoms begin to worsen, as they often do in the days following a car accident.
When you seek medical attention after a car accident, keep a few things in mind to make the most of your visit to the emergency room.
Tell Doctors Everything
The doctors and nurses at the ER weren’t at the accident scene, so they’re relying on you to describe exactly how the accident happened. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you should inform ER staff if any part of your body suffered trauma of any kind, such as if you hit your head on the window or slammed your knees into the dashboard.
The doctor’s notes about the accident and your injuries will go into your official medical record.
Without this record, it will be more difficult to prove that the accident caused your injuries, especially if they don’t present themselves right away.
Ensure Correct Documentation
Ask to see a copy of your medical record and review the doctor’s description of the accident and your symptoms. Make sure both are accurate. If you notice that the facts of the accident are wrong, request that the doctor correct them. If the doctor wrote that you have a pre-existing condition and you don’t, get that corrected as well.
In an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, it’s important that your medical records and the official police report agree in their description of the accident. If there is a discrepancy, the insurance adjuster or the other driver’s lawyer may argue that you don’t have your facts straight.
After the ER doctors examine you, they will either admit you to the hospital or allow you to go home. If it’s the latter, you should arrange to have someone pick you up and drive you home.
You will be given written discharge instructions that outline the follow-up care you should receive and the medications you should take. Talk with a nurse before you leave if you don’t receive or understand these instructions.
Follow up With Your Primary Doctor
It’s a wise idea to visit your primary care doctor for a check-up a few days after your emergency room visit. Your doctor knows your medical history and may have additional insights to record. He or she is also a valuable second witness to your injury. After all, having two medical reports is better than just one.
Keep Copies of Documents
After an accident, you are likely stressed and overwhelmed. By the time you are discharged from the ER, you are probably be exhausted, too. Instead of relying on your memory, insist on getting everything in writing. Paperwork that you should save includes:
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Photos of your injuries
- Recommendations that you should take time off work
- Recommendations for follow-up treatment, including specialist care
- Discharge instructions
The more documentation you can get from the doctors and nurses at the ER, the stronger your case will be in court. Keep your medical documents, as well as the police report and any insurance paperwork, organized in a folder or another safe place.
Help from a Worcester Car Accident Lawyer
Once you seek medical treatment, your next step should be to retain the services of a Worcester car accident lawyer. Crash victims who represent themselves rarely receive the full compensation they deserve. An experienced attorney will answer your questions, fight for your rights, and protect your best interests.
If you have been injured in a car accident and wish to recover damages for your medical care and lost wages through a personal injury lawsuit, please contact our office today. Your first consultation is always free.