If you are involved in a car collision, your situation may end in one of three common scenarios. First, you might be lucky and emerge without an injury. Second, you might experience some minor-to-moderate injuries and go get checked out at an urgent care center or your family doctor’s office. Third, you might suffer serious injuries that necessitate a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance or life flight. No matter which situation occurs, it’s important that you visit a doctor who can evaluate your health and treat any injuries. But do you know what doctor to see after a car accident? And when should you visit your doctor?
What Doctor to See After a Car Accident
If you aren’t sure what doctor to see after a car accident, don’t worry – this is a common question.
If you suffer severe injuries, you will need to go to the emergency room and then follow up with your primary care physician or a specialist recommended by the ER doctor. If your injuries are not life threatening, you might opt to drive yourself to a doctor for care later that day or the next day.
It is important that you visit your doctor even if you initially believe that you are fine. It’s a good idea to go to urgent care or schedule an appointment for a physical examination as soon as possible after a car accident. Some common and serious injuries that result from car collisions don’t show symptoms right away. For example, the following injuries may or may not produce immediate symptoms:
- Sprains and strains
- Some types of fractures
- Internal bleeding
When you discuss your injuries with your doctor, be completely honest. Describe the type of pain or discomfort you’re experiencing, the severity of the injury, and how it has impacted your daily life. The better your doctor understands your injury, the better he or she will be able to accurately diagnosis and treat it.
Depending on the type and severity of your injury, you may be referred to specialists for further treatment or recommended follow-up care. It is important that you follow your doctor’s care plan thoroughly and in a timely manner. As the patient, you always have the right to seek second opinions from similarly qualified medical specialists. However, if you simply miss appointments or ignore treatment instructions, not only could you put your health at risk, but you will also give the insurance company the impression that your injuries are not significant, which may hurt your case. Therefore, you should take your medical care and all follow-up care very seriously and make it a priority.
In addition, keep any medical documents you receive, as they will be treated as evidence in your case. Make copies of important records so that you can present them as needed. Keep a copy of any and all “off work” slips or work restriction instructions before turning over the originals to your employer.
When Your Primary Care Doctor Won’t See You After a Collision
Did you know that many primary care doctors won’t see their patients if they have been injured in a car collision? We receive this complaint from clients all the time. The doctor’s practice may not be set up for billing car insurance companies, or they may simply feel uncomfortable treating such injuries knowing that they could be called to testify in the case at a later date.
If your primary care doctor refuses to see you, leaving you wondering what doctor to see after a car accident, you have a couple of options:
- First, if the matter is urgent or if you do not have medical insurance, you can go to the emergency room or to an urgent care center and initially pay for the visit out of pocket subject to being reimbursed out of the legal case. Some personal injury lawyers will also obtain appointments with specially trained physicians who also will wait to be paid out of any future settlement.
- Second, your attorney may request that your doctors or other care providers file a Missouri statutory medical lien. When a medical provider files such a lien, they have some assurances of being paid out of any future settlement or monetary recovery which the patient may receive. This can often ease collection efforts and allow the patient to obtain the needed medical care before moving on to settlement of their claim.
The Importance of Medical Care Following a Collision
In any car collision, the primary concern is always the health and well-being of those involved. Receiving prompt medical attention allows your doctor to determine if you are injured and to quickly treat any injuries that do occur, which may lead to a faster recovery. In addition, your doctor may provide care instructions to ensure you don’t exacerbate the injury. Finally, only a physician can know if you are truly uninjured after a collision, so even if you feel fine, it’s important to visit a doctor. If an injury goes untreated, it could cause major health issues later in life.
From a legal standpoint, it is also important to receive prompt medical care following a collision:
- First, your medical records will act as some of the most important forms of evidence in your injury case, outlining and defining the extent of your injuries, the diagnosis, opinions about causation, and recommendations for treatment including your future prognosis. When you file your claim, your doctor’s examination of your injuries and the diagnosis and prescribed treatment will have a significant impact on your ability to collect compensation. Additionally, it is highly advisable to have a physician’s opinion backing up any periods of time missed from work.
- Second, the cost of your medical care will impact the amount of compensation you’re eligible to receive. In addition, your doctor may be able to predict how your injury will affect your life in the years to come, which may affect the amount of compensation you receive.
- Third, if you wait to receive medical care, the defense may argue that your injuries were not caused by the collision at all.
- Finally, if you don’t follow the prescribed treatment plan or there are gaps in your treatment (missing appointments, skipping therapy sessions, failing to fill prescriptions), the defense may argue that you are not as injured as you claim or that you have fault for failing to treat and alleviate your injuries.
Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
Car collisions and other types of accidents can cause many types of injuries, ranging from minor scratches to catastrophic injuries. Even if you believe that you are okay, it is still highly recommended that you visit your doctor after an accident. And if you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, it is important for you to get legal help. Schedule a free consultation today with the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave by calling 417-322-2222 or contacting us online.