After a car accident, you’ll likely be shaken up and unsure what to do next. Police will be asking questions, and the other person(s) in the wreck may be trying to get information from you. In all this confusion, it’s easy to get lost and forget what you need to do — and that can be dangerous.
As personal injury lawyers, we’ve written about what you should do after different types of vehicle accidents. No matter what kind of accident, one of the most important steps is to seek medical attention. After a car wreck, you may have injuries you don’t realize because they are internal and/or disguised by shock and adrenaline.
In addition, waiting to seek medical treatment could hamper your ability to seek compensation later on. If you wait too long, the other party could claim your injuries were due to some other circumstance after the initial wreck.
Our San Luis Obispo car accident lawyers have seen this problem too many times. By seeking medical attention, you can ensure you stay in good health — and have a better chance of getting the compensation you deserve.
First, Get Treated By EMTs
Your first step after being in a wreck is to call 9-1-1. Be sure to ask for an ambulance. That way, medical professionals can treat you immediately on scene. They may tell you you’re fine, or they may decide you need to go to the hospital.
If they decide you need to go to the hospital, don’t argue. Skipping emergency treatment can be dangerous both for your health and your potential lawsuit. If, on the other hand, the EMTs at the scene don’t think your injuries are too severe, you should still seek further medical attention.
Either Way, Go to Your Doctor
EMTs are excellent at what they do. However, they often work with a limited tool set. After your accident, your doctor can conduct a full evaluation, including x-rays and MRIs as needed. Be sure to either go to urgent care or your general practitioner to make sure you get the full medical treatment you need.
Your treatment shouldn’t stop there, however. Whether you went to the emergency room or you visited your doctor, you should seek follow-up treatment. Your doctor may prescribe a treatment regimen, and you should follow it. Continue treatment until your doctor says you’re done. Otherwise, your initial injury could be made worse.
If you feel symptoms such as pain in the injured area, dizziness, or numbness, go back and get medical treatment immediately. It might be unrelated to the injury, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Where Should You Seek Medical Treatment?
If you can, your best bet is visit your general practitioner and let them recommend any specialists you may need to see. But in some instances, you may need more urgent treatment, and your doctor may be busy. Luckily, there are other options.
Walk-in clinics and urgent care facilities can be great options if your doctor is too busy to see you in a timely manner. These centers are great for normal injuries, like sprains and minor burns. However, if you’re suffering from a more extreme injury, a trip to the emergency room may be in order.
Emergency rooms should be reserved for extreme injuries, such as broken bones, severe burns, breathing difficulties and other severe trauma. ERs are equipped to to handle emergency situations, as their name suggests.
If money is an issue, know that urgent care and walk-in clinics are often cheaper than ERs, but generally provide fewer services. Make sure you check with your insurer to see what your copay and other fees would be.
Keep Track of Your Medical Records
When you speak to a San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer, one of the best pieces of evidence you can supply for them is a detailed record of your medical treatments. Ask your doctor for a copy of your medical records, and review them for any mistakes.
One of the most common mistakes found on these kinds of medical reports is the description of the accident. Make sure the details are correct, including what happened in the wreck and what injuries you sustained. If the accident description in your medical records doesn’t match the description in the police report, more issues may arise down the road.
You should also check to make sure your symptoms are listed correctly in your medical records. For instance, if your symptoms don’t list headaches, nausea and other symptoms of a concussion, it may be harder to include a traumatic brain injury in your lawsuit claims.
The final issue you need to check is your medical history itself. A misleading medical history could keep you from getting the full compensation you deserve. For example, if your doctor lists a history of elbow problems, but you’ve never had any issues before your car wreck, the other party could say your injury was due to a pre-existing condition, not the accident.
Make sure everything in your medical records is completely accurate, and keep records of your treatment. That way, you can help your San Luis Obispo car accident attorney craft a strong case on your behalf.
Speak to a San Luis Obispo Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’re injured in a car accident, you need experienced legal representation. The attorneys at Ernst Law Group are here to help. We’ve been helping victims of car accidents get the compensation they deserve for nearly 40 years.
Call (805) 678-0272 or contact us online to speak with an experienced San Luis Obispo car accident lawyer today. We’ll review your case for free, and advise you on what we believe are the best steps forward.