Recent studies stress the importance of prompt medical treatment after a car accident in Mission Viejo, Irvine or anywhere in Southern California. Those injured in a car accident must promptly seek treatment to avoid jeopardizing recovery for associated medical expenses due to the car accident.
A study recently presented to the American Pain Society-and several others performed over the course of the past few decades stress the importance of prompt medical treatment after a car accident. Failure to do seek a thorough medical examination within 24 to 48 hours of the accident could have dire consequences, including:
- Denial of your (otherwise valid) personal injury claim
- Worsening of whatever injuries had initially occurred
- Development of additional injuries or complications
- Longer recovery time
- Need for additional or more invasive treatments
- Significantly higher medical costs
- Lost wages and productivity sacrificed for a longer recovery time
- Development of chronic, widespread pain that can last years or even become permanent
- Jeopardizing your legal right to compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, fair compensation for your injury and recovery and even property damage
Prompt medical treatment after a car accident is especially important for difficult-to-diagnose injuries like ligament injuries, muscle tears, sprains and other so-called “soft tissue” injuries. Many injuries to the back, neck or head can take weeks or even months before symptoms become evident. Without both timely and effective treatment, symptoms of these injuries could linger for weeks, months or even years, and could, in some instances, become permanent.
The type of treatment matters
While it is common for those involved in car accidents to seek treatment at a conveniently located emergency room or urgent care center, this study-authored by June Hu, statistician with the University of North Carolina’s TRYUMPH (Trauma Recovery Understanding Mechanisms and Promoting Healing) Research Program indicates that many people who are seen in those types of facilities who don’t present with obvious injuries like lacerations, broken bones, etc., are only given a cursory examination and discharged.
By not detecting and attempting to treat pain-causing conditions immediately following an accident, physicians and other medical providers might be making the patient’s situation even worse. This is due in part to the fact that many patients, having been evaluated and cleared by a medical professional, will return to normal activities too soon and exacerbate injuries or develop new ones as their body tries to compensate. This will increase their chances of developing lingering widespread pain or a different condition that is much worse than the original harm caused in the accident.
However, if prompt medical treatment after a car accident is undertaken to thoroughly evaluate the patient in an attempt to ferret out the presence of “invisible” injuries, symptoms of which might not appear immediately on the scene of an accident or in the next few hours or days, targeted treatment could begin. This may involve traditional methods like medication, rest, wraps/bandages/braces/casts to support injured areas, an ice or heat regimen, or physical therapy, along with more “alternative” methods like chiropractic care, electrical stimulation, acupuncture, acupressure, vitamin supplements or massage.
No matter the type of treatment protocol selected, the fact remains that car or truck accident victims who proactively seek medical care following a crash statistically fare much better than similarly situated people who went untreated. Of course, if you have been involved in an accident, it is possible that you are worried about the expense of seeking medical treatment, particularly given the property damage to your vehicle. Keep in mind that in many cases, the auto insurance of the at-fault driver will likely be responsible for your medical bills. Insurance companies always offer a low settlement for injury claims, but will outright deny your otherwise valid claim if you do not see a doctor within 24 to 48 hours of your accident.
In addition, some situations warrant bringing a legal claim against a reckless, negligent or distracted driver to hold him (or her) responsible for causing the accident. If you have questions about prompt medical treatment after a car accident or whether you should consider legal action to seek compensation following a car accident we invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and the legal industry and contact the Law Firm of Rivers Morrell or call 949-305-1400 to speak personally with an experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation.