Walking away from a car accident without sustaining any apparent injuries can leave you feeling shocked and relieved. You may think that there’s no reason to see a doctor or that doing so would be an inconvenience in a stressful time. However, neglecting to seek medical care after an accident can put both your health and your personal injury claim in jeopardy. 

When You Should See a Doctor After a Car Accident 

Even if you think you aren’t hurt, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. There are a number of common car accident injuries whose symptoms do not manifest until hours or even days after the fact.

During high-stress moments, our bodies produce adrenaline which allows us to focus on something other than pain so that we can navigate intense situations. That means adrenaline can disguise the symptoms of an injury that would be apparent in its absence. Even after the adrenaline has worn off, some injuries can still take time to become symptomatic, such as back and neck injuries, brain injuries, and internal bleeding and bruises. 

Medical tests may be the only way to determine whether you sustained an injury in an accident. The sooner you receive medical care from a qualified professional, the more likely you are to make a full and speedy recovery. 

When it comes to the question of what doctor to see after a car accident, be sure to seek out a credentialed and qualified medical professional and follow through on referrals to specialists. 

Injuries with Delayed Symptoms

It’s common to not notice harmless bumps, bruises, and soreness for a few days, but more serious conditions can also go unnoticed, including:

  • Whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a forceful back-and-forth movement and is common in rear-end accidents. While it often resolves on its own, it can sometimes result in chronic neck pain.
  • Herniated disks. A car accident can cause a herniated disk, which is when one of your vertebrae pushes against your spinal cord, resulting in symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and/or stiffness in the back and neck. 
  • Traumatic brain injury. A mild traumatic brain injury like a concussion may not be obvious right away but can cause symptoms such as headache, confusion, memory loss, and sensitivity to light and noise. 
  • Internal injuries. Broken ribs and internal organ injuries can lead to internal bleeding. Symptoms to look out for include abdominal pain, lightheadedness, trouble breathing, coldness, fatigue, and pallor. 

Why Medical Documentation Is Important

In addition to protecting your health, a visit with a doctor will also create a record establishing the existence of your injuries, which is key to your personal injury claim. Medical documentation is of particular importance for people who have pre-existing conditions such as degenerative disc disease or chronic pain. The liable party may try to use prior medical diagnoses to allege that your condition is not a result of the accident and was not exacerbated by it. 

A car accident doctor or specialist’s plan for your care — such as prescriptions, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, and surgeries — can also give you and your attorney a more clear understanding of the costs that will be incurred from your injury so that you can request an appropriate settlement. 

Johnson Garcia Can Help

If another party was responsible for your accident, you likely have the right to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income from time off work, pain and suffering, and any associated legal costs. While you recover from your injuries, our knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Johnson Garcia LLP will investigate the circumstances of your wreck and collect evidence that can strengthen your personal injury claim. 

We will use our 30 years of experience helping clients with personal injury claims to recover reimbursement for you, taking your fight to court if the situation warrants legal action. Our contingency fee arrangement protects your rights without increasing your financial burden. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation so we can get to work for you.