What advice would a car accident attorney give you at the scene of a crash? You may be surprised to learn that one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of winning compensation is to go to the ER, whether or not you feel injured. Here is why the best personal injury lawyers in Houston, TX all recommend getting seen by medical professionals the same day an accident occurs:
Why You Should Always Visit a Doctor After a Crash (Even If You Don’t Feel Hurt)
1. You Might Have Hidden Injuries
Hidden injuries are injuries that you do not feel immediately. Despite potentially being serious, a hidden injury might not be felt for a few days or even a few weeks after the accident. The reason your injuries might not be immediately apparent is that the human body produces large amounts of adrenaline during a traumatic event like a car crash. All this adrenaline can sometimes mask the physical sensation of pain.
While hidden injuries do not hurt, it is very important to treat them as soon as possible. Some injuries can worsen significantly if they are not addressed immediately. Going to the ER immediately after an accident occurs gives the doctors the chance to administer fast treatments that could prevent you from developing a more serious condition.
2. Your Visit Creates a Record of Your Injuries
To win a personal injury case, you need to go beyond proving that another party caused you to experience an accident. In addition to demonstrating fault, you must show that the accident caused you specific damages. In the case of a car crash, your injuries are considered damages.
Going to the ER generates a credible record of your injuries that is created by medical experts. Furthermore, if the date of your hospital visit matches the date of the accident as noted in the police report, the defense will have a harder time blaming your injuries on some other event.
3. Your Medical Records Will Show the Extent of Your Injuries
When you submit a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, they will have a chance to investigate whether or not they are obligated to pay the full amount. Often, insurance companies try to save money by arguing that the claimant overstated his or her injuries. According to their logic, they should not have to pay for treatments that weren’t medically necessary, given that the claimant’s injuries were not actually serious.
When you go to the ER, you will undergo a variety of imaging processes and diagnostic tests. The results can show that all of the treatments you subsequently received were, in fact, needed. Additionally, the act of going to the ER will show that you are being responsible with your health rather than causing additional harm through neglect.
4. Your Visit Can Differentiate Between New Injuries and Old Injuries
Understanding Pre-Existing Conditions
If you have a pre-existing condition, you may have to go through a few extra steps to prove that you deserve compensation after a car accident. In a car accident case, a pre-existing condition is any health issue that predates the crash. Examples include back problems, auto-immune conditions, and chronic diseases like cancer.
The Eggshell Doctrine
While a pre-existing condition might make you more likely to get hurt in a car accident, you still have a right to seek damages for any injuries that were accident-related, including aggravation of your old injuries. This concept is known as the eggshell doctrine.
Generating Evidence of New Injuries
Going to the ER after a crash will generate a set of images and test results that can be compared to older documents in your medical history. By presenting evidence showing the state of your health before and after the crash, your lawyer can determine which of your medical expenses warrant compensation.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Common in Car Accidents?
Car accidents cause many injuries, from small bruises to lifelong disabilities and even death. The sudden impact combined with the velocity of the vehicle can put intense stress on the body, causing external and/or internal injuries. Doctors at the ER are familiar with the most common accident injuries and know what to look for, even if you are not experiencing symptoms. They will likely check you for:
- Broken bones
- Damage to internal organs
- Spinal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
What to Expect in the ER
Imaging, Tests, and a Few Questions
When you arrive at the ER, you will likely receive a series of X-rays, a CAT scan, and some other tests. The doctors may ask you questions about how your body feels, and it is important to mention any unusual sensations you are experiencing. Your statements will be recorded in your medical history and could be used as evidence when you submit a claim to the liable insurance company.
If your condition is questionable, the doctors may recommend that you stay overnight. When you are discharged, it is important to know that you may need follow-up diagnostics to rule out the possibility that a condition developed in the days or weeks after the accident.
Before you leave the ER, you will receive instructions on how to follow up with your PCP and/or any recommended specialists. You may also get instructions for at-home care. Following the doctors’ orders, going to all of your appointments, and taking your prescribed medication will protect the validity of your claim against any attempts by the insurance company to argue that you worsened your condition through neglect.
Paying for the Medical Expenses
If you are hesitant to go to the ER because you are worried about medical expenses, you should know that most individuals can avoid paying for them out-of-pocket. If you have health insurance, it will likely cover your tests and your care. While your health insurance may seek reimbursement from the liable party by putting a lien on your settlement, it is unlikely that you will end up paying the bill personally.
If you don’t have health insurance, it is often possible to defer the bills until your case has been resolved. Many people carry personal injury protection as part of their auto insurance. This type of policy is used to pay for accident-related expenses regardless of who was at fault. If you were involved in a crash with multiple vehicles and one of the other drivers acted negligently, you can file a claim for your medical expenses and other losses against his or her liability insurance.
Working With a Car Accident Attorney in Houston, TX
Having a car accident attorney help you seek compensation can make your recovery easier by removing the burden of navigating the claim submission process alone. In addition to giving you advice on how to respond at the crash scene, your lawyer will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and pursue a settlement that covers all of your expenses. Since we offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis, you will not need to pay any legal fees upfront.
Schedule an Appointment With Us
After a car accident, your first considerations are likely your health and the outcome of your settlement. Going to the ER immediately is always in the best interests, serving both your recovery and your insurance claim. To speak with one of our lawyers in Houston, TX about how to get reimbursement for your medical expenses and other losses, contact Houston Injury Lawyers PLLC.