Even if you've been in a minor automobile accident, it's important for you to immediately get medical care. If you don't have broken bones or obvious injuries, you're still at risk for soft tissue injuries. These injuries may not be noticeable until a few days later.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about getting medical care after an accident, whether it's a major or a minor accident.
Throughout the process of getting medical care, you should document everything, including the dates and times you saw a medical professional, the names of the people you talked to, and their findings. You may want to request a copy of your own medical file so that you can take photos and videos of your X-rays and medical documents.
Documentation is important because you need to be able to show that you had injuries treated at the date and time that you said that they were. Otherwise, it could be argued they were existing injuries or that they occurred after the accident.
Go to the Doctor Immediately
Your accident may not merit an ambulance to the emergency room, but you should still go to urgent care for a full examination. Even if your accident wasn't your fault, you generally have a duty to mitigate. In other words, you don't want to make your injury worse by not pursuing the appropriate medical care.
There are injuries, such as spinal injuries, which could become dramatically worse if they aren't diagnosed and treated. Adrenaline and shock can absorb pain, making it seem as though you aren't injured at all until later on.
Don't Turn Down Treatment
You may be tempted to turn down medical treatment because it's too expensive. But that is a mistake for two reasons. First, you can generally only be compensated for your actual damages. If you have $10,000 in medical bills, you can sue for this. It's substantially harder to sue for $10,000 in theoretical medical costs.
Second, you don't want your issues to get worse. If they get worse, they will only get more expensive. Not only will you be in pain, but you'll also have to invest a lot more time and money into getting out of pain.
You might be stressed by having medical bills that you can't pay. Your lawyer, however, can help you address them in as nondisruptive a way as possible. There are other options, such as working out payment arrangements or going through Medicaid.
Rest and Relax per the Doctor's Orders
If your doctor has advised you not to work, do not work. Following the doctor's orders is important legally, as doing so shows that you are taking an interest in your own medical care. If you cannot work, documentation also shows that you can't work. If you attempt to work and injure yourself, it could be argued that you are fit to work.
Make Sure You Go to Follow-Ups
Follow-ups are necessary both for your own health and also for building up your documentation. You may feel as though you're fine, but a follow up is designed to catch anything that isn't healing properly or that still needs to be addressed.
Follow-ups are also going to show whether you are going to need continued medical care. This information is going to have to be included when you attempt to get restitution because you also want enough money to cover your future medical expenses.
Though your own insurance may be able to pay for a portion of your medical treatments (or even all of your currently necessary medical treatments), you need to keep in mind a potential lifetime of issues. Some medical issues could even cause other medical issues to become higher risk, which could impact your overall quality of life.
Medical care is expensive, but the burden shouldn't be on you alone. If you've had an accident and need to pursue restitution, Frank W. Thompson can help. Contact the offices of Frank W. Thompson, Attorney at Law today to get started on your case.