If you've ever been in any form of car accident, you might not think that you're one of the 2.35 million people who are injured or disabled in car accidents every year in the US. However, for the sake of your health, consider erring on the side of caution. You might have an injury that hasn't presented itself yet.
Get Medically Assessed After an Accident
You should never be in an accident and fail to get a medical checkup immediately afterward. It's true that you don't have to go to the emergency room by ambulance if you're feeling all right, but some injuries take time to manifest—especially those incurred by soft tissues like the ligaments in your neck or muscles in your back. Injuries from a vehicle accident can show up hours, days or even weeks later.
Even though it means more time off work, visit an urgent care or injury care clinic or call your regular doctor for information on what to do. Your checkup may include medical advice on how to assess any additional symptoms as well as medication that can help with pain or other problems you may have later.
Symptoms That May Indicate a Problem
Because, even after seeing a doctor, you may have issues that come up, you need to be watchful. If anything starts to hurt or if you have nausea in the hours or even days following a vehicle accident, you need to document it and call your physician. Some of the other issues that can come up include:
- Restricted movement, especially to the neck
- Numbness in your arms or legs
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder or neck pain
- Increased heartbeat
These can indicate an injury to the brain, like a concussion, or an injury to the spine. Because they don't show up right away, it can be hard to connect what's happening to you with a car accident, especially if it was minor.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If you have medical issues, you also need to think about the legal help you may need. Document in writing and, when possible, with photos what issues you are having. This will help you remember if you're questioned about what happened later. It can also help prove that your symptoms were caused by the vehicle accident and not some other issue.
Seeing a medical professional immediately after an accident can also help if you need to challenge insurance claims or seek additional compensation following the accident. Failure to seek medical attention may make it appear like you weren't injured, or the injuries aren't serious enough for compensation. For more tips and suggestions, talk to resources such as Sarkisian Law Offices.