Do I have to go to the hospital immediately after a car accident?

Driver Neck Injury Or Backpain

An auto accident injury can range in severity depending on the speed and type of impact as well as who is involved. Sometimes when you’re injured in a motor vehicle collision, it’s obvious that you need medical treatment, and you’re able to get help right away. Other times, it might take several days or longer for you to realize that the pain you’re experiencing is from the accident.

When it comes to treatment for an auto accident injury, it’s important to see a medical professional as soon as you start to experience any new or worsening pain. If there is a gap of time between the day of the accident and when you go to the doctor – whether it be a few days or weeks - insurance companies will argue that they are not responsible for those medical bills. They’ll say that because you did not go to the doctor right away either the pain must not have been that bad or it was caused by something else entirely.

We always tell those injured in accidents to listen to their bodies and to get the help they need to feel better. It is super common for people to wait a few days to see if their pain goes way or try to treat it with over-the-counter medication and rest. This does not mean that your case is a lost cause!

In fact, many experts speak about whiplash taking days to set in. But if you think that you might have injuries from an accident and you’re worried it’s been too long for you to get treatment, call an auto accident attorney to go over your options.

Your Health is the Bottom Line

When you’re injured in an accident, the first thing a lot of people thing about is how to get their car taken care of so they can get back on the road again. Your adrenaline is pumping, and it can take time to realize that you’re injured or in pain. The absolute most important thing to focus on is your health. You need to get better and back to the place you were in before the wreck.

A lot of people hesitate to seek medical treatment for an auto accident injury for several reasons. The most common reasons we hear for why people don’t seek care right away are:

  • They don’t want to pay the medical bills since the accident is not their fault.
  • They don’t have the money to pay for medical treatment right now.
  • They simply don’t know where to go.
  • They didn’t go to the hospital after the crash and think it’s too late to get help now.

If any of these sounds familiar, you’re not alone! Every case is different, so make sure to call an accident attorney to discuss your options.

Whenever you seek medical treatment as a result of a crash, is very important that you tell your doctor and nurse when you started experiencing symptoms, describe them to the best of your ability, and what you’ve done to try to manage your pain thus far. Your doctor will write it down in your chart and your attorney can use the records to prove the treatment was necessitated by the crash. This is all the more important when there is a gap of time between the accident and your doctor’s appointment.

Ways for Treatment to be Paid

There are several ways for your medical bills to be paid if your treatment is related to an auto accident. First, you can use your health insurance. This is usually the best way to minimize the risk of being stuck with medical bills if you did not go to the doctor right away. When you use your health insurance, you are ensuring that your bills will be paid even if the insurance company doesn’t make a reasonable offer. If you use your health insurance, your health insurance carrier will be paid back from the defendant’s insurance company, and you’ll still recover for pain and suffering, missed time from work, and other damages.

Another option is to treat under a letter of protection. This is something that a personal injury attorney can set up for you. It allows you to see a doctor under the agreement that they will be paid from the final settlement instead of requiring payment up front. Sometimes it’s difficult to use a letter of protection when there is a gap between the crash and when you start seeking medical treatment. This is simply because the doctor might not want to take the risk that insurance company doesn’t make an offer. If the insurance company doesn’t pay for the services rendered under a letter of protection, you may be on the hook for the full amount of the bill. For this reason, most people chose to treat under their health insurance if possible.

Common Arguments from the Insurance Company

An insurance company’s primary focus is to make money and keep money. However, they are also obligated to compensate you for your damages after a wreck caused by their insured and prevent the added cost of a lawsuit if possible. This means that they want to find the sweet spot between offering you an amount that you’ll take because it’s “high enough,” but not giving you too much or more than a jury would ever award you.

This can be wildly frustrating because it can feel like your life experiences and pain are reduced down to a simple dollar amount. You would be right to feel that way!

When you have a large gap in treatment, whether it be from the initial wreck to your first doctor’s visit, or a gap during your ongoing treatment, the insurance company will often make the following arguments:

  1. That you were feeling well enough not to have to go to the doctor consistently, so clearly your injuries were healed,
  2. That your injuries were caused or aggravated by something else during that gap in care, and/or
  3. That it was no longer reasonable to seek treatment for the wreck because of how much time you’d taken off.

Don’t be scared of these arguments! An experienced accident attorney can help fight the insurance companies on your behalf!

Get Legal Help after Your Auto Accident Injury

If you have questions about gaps in your treatment plan, or if you were in an accident and feel you need treatment now, call a personal injury attorney for a free consultation. At McKinney Vos, we handle all sorts of accident and personal injury cases. Based in Austin, our female-owned law firm fights for our clients so that they can focus on healing. Learn what to expect, get answers to common questions, and contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

Categories: Car Accident