Why it’s Important to Seek Medical Care Following a Car Accident
Car crashes often lead to injuries. Even minor fender benders can cause whiplash and damage to soft tissue. Although you might not think your injury is that severe, there could be underlying issues you don’t realize. Without seeking medical attention from a qualified doctor, you could unknowingly face permanent physical harm.
Many accident victims don’t understand the dangerous implications of choosing not to see a doctor after a car accident. It doesn’t just affect your health. Not seeing a doctor after an accident can also affect the future of a car accident claim you might pursue. If you decide to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver responsible for the crash, you could end up without the compensation you need because of your lack of treatment.
For Your Safety
Medical attention following a car accident is vital to your physical and mental health. Even if you feel okay in the immediate aftermath, you might have internal injuries you can’t see. For example, the severity of a traumatic brain injury might not be apparent until days or even weeks later. Without adequate treatment, permanent damage could occur, resulting in cognitive or physical impairments.
Whether you go to the hospital or your family doctor, you should undergo a complete medical evaluation after you leave the accident scene. By beginning a treatment plan right away, you could potentially avoid developing severe complications.
The initial treating physician should evaluate your condition and determine a diagnosis. They might order an X-ray or CT scan to look for internal bleeding or broken bones. Once they diagnose the injury, they might recommend follow-up care, such as rehabilitation, surgery, or physical therapy.
For Evidence of an Injury
Evidence is crucial in car accident cases. Doctors should document each appointment you attend. This can serve as substantial evidence to prove your injury resulted from the crash and required ongoing treatment to manage symptoms and heal.
Medical records typically contain:
- Diagnosis of the injury
- How and when it happened
- Recommended treatment plan
- Follow-up notes
- Recovery progress
Once you complete treatment, your physician should notate the date of your last appointment and whether you healed entirely or might have to follow up for future treatment as needed.
If your resulting condition reaches a point where medical treatment won’t improve the condition anymore, a doctor could determine a patient you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement or MMI. That means your condition isn’t likely to improve with further treatment. At that point, they could provide an impairment rating, indicating how much your injury affects your physical or mental functioning. For example, if you suffered spinal cord damage and can’t return to your job or perform routine tasks, they will provide an impairment rating to show the effect of the injury on your life.
During your ongoing case, you should keep a copy of every document you receive. That can include:
- Hospital records
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation notes
- Imaging test results
- Surgical reports
- Chiropractic care records
- Emergency service documentation
The insurance company handling your claim will want to see the timeline of treatment you received to confirm the severity of your injury. They could provide a low settlement offer if they see missed appointments or doctor notes that don’t match up with your statements.
For the Monetary Value of Your Case
Determining the value of a car accident case depends on a range of factors. These factors might include:
- Availability of evidence proving who was at fault for the crash
- Total medical expenses incurred from treatment of the injury
- Duration of the recovery period
- Type and severity of the injury
- The emotional or psychological impact of the accident
- Time spent away from work for doctor’s appointments and other injury-related reasons
- The estimated cost of medical care needed in the future
- Effects on quality of life due to the accident
Your attorney can review the medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and other costs resulting from the crash to calculate the appropriate dollar value of your case. They will also have to monetize any intangible losses you suffered, such as emotional distress and pain and suffering.
The compensation you receive should adequately compensate for all of your losses if you weren’t partially responsible for the accident.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
After your initial medical evaluation, it’s critical to follow your medical provider’s recommendations. If they write a referral for an X-ray, be sure to get one immediately. If they inform you that your injury requires ongoing rehabilitation to manage chronic pain and mobility issues, attend rehab regularly until you heal.
Although taking time out of your busy schedule to attend appointments every week can be an inconvenience, it’s essential for your future. If you disagree with the doctor’s original diagnosis or recommended plan moving forward, it’s your right to seek a second opinion. Sometimes, different healthcare professionals have different opinions about how to heal a patient’s injury. However, ongoing treatment is necessary to prevent medical complications and create sufficient evidence.
Choosing not to listen to your doctor could negatively affect your health and case. If you have a severe injury but don’t follow the treatment plan created by your doctor, you could end up with permanent damage. Additionally, the insurance company will note the disregard shown for your physician’s recommendations and could lower your settlement.
Speak to a Dedicated and Experienced Attorney Today
At the Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC, our Houston-based legal team will fight for you. We understand the challenges most people face after a car accident. It can lead to physical pain, financial struggles, and emotional trauma. You can depend on us to be your advocate and remain in your corner from start to finish of the legal process.
When you hire us, we will work tirelessly to build a solid case and strive for a favorable outcome. You will have a team of experienced and dedicated legal professionals on your side to guide you through this devastating time in your life. We always prioritize our clients and aggressively seek the maximum compensation they deserve.
If you sustained injuries in a Houston car accident, contact Willie D. Powells III today for your free consultation.