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When Should You See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

October 14, 2022

Even if you don’t notice any sudden symptoms after a wreck, it’s generally a good idea to see a doctor after a car accident. Not all injuries are immediately apparent; brain injuries and spinal cord injuries, for example, can take days or even weeks to manifest symptoms.

The experienced car accident attorneys at Coplan + Crane have seen the devastation a serious car accident can wreak on victims and their families. We are committed to helping our clients recover from their injuries and obtain the compensation they need and deserve to move forward.

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Why See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

When severe injuries are obvious at an accident scene, emergency responders should be summoned immediately. However, it is often in the best interest of car accident victims to seek medical attention following a wreck regardless of whether they experience any initial pain or signs of significant injury. Seeking medical attention after a crash can help to:

Protect Your Health

Above all else, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident to protect your health. Some injuries do not show symptoms for several days after the initial harm. It is crucial to have a physician diagnose your condition as soon as possible so that you can receive treatment promptly. In some instances, such as cases of internal injury, failing to see a doctor can lead to a serious medical emergency.

Document Your Injuries

In addition to protecting your health, seeing a physician after a collision will document your injuries. Official medical documentation can go a long way in supporting your case by making a causal connection between your injuries and the crash that caused them. In the absence of documentation, insurance companies will invariably argue that your injury is not as serious as you claim or that the injury is not linked to the accident. Because of this, seeking immediate medical attention is not only imperative for your health, it is crucial for protecting your right to seek compensation for the harm you suffered.

What If I Don’t Notice Symptoms After a Crash?

Even if you don’t have visible injuries – or you think you escaped with only minor scrapes and bruises – it is still critical to visit a physician as soon as possible. You may be in shock and not realize that you have sustained a severe head, spine, neck, or organ injury. Explain the situation to your doctor and make sure you receive a thorough examination. 

Just as seeing a doctor is important, it is equally crucial to follow all of your physician’s treatment recommendations. Fill your prescriptions, engage in physical therapy, and follow all instructions related to rest, follow-up appointments, time off from work, and medications.

It may be tempting to ignore treatment recommendations or skip appointments – especially when you start feeling better. However, if you don’t adhere to your treatment plan, the insurance company may point to your noncompliance as a justification to reduce your settlement or even deny your claim outright. Because of this, you must make a point to follow your doctor’s recommendations precisely. Following your doctor’s orders is a significant part of protecting your rights and ensuring that you recover the damages you deserve under Illinois law.

Common Injuries With Delayed Symptoms

After a car crash, your body may be flooded with adrenaline or in a state of shock, impairing your ability to recognize the true severity of your injuries. However, once the adrenaline and endorphins wear off, you may begin to notice symptoms and feel pain or discomfort.

Several injuries are notorious for manifesting symptoms days, weeks, or even longer after the initial injury occurred. Some of the most common injuries with delayed symptoms include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: Delayed symptoms of moderate TBI can include limb numbness, coma, amnesia, and paralysis.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Individuals who suffer a spinal cord injury may experience pain, tingling sensations, spasms, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms days after an injury occurs.
  • Whiplash: Delayed whiplash symptoms can include severe headaches, jaw pain, ringing in the ears, pain and stiffness in the upper or lower back, neck, or shoulders, and more.
  • Internal injuries: The blunt force involved in a collision can harm your heart, lungs, kidneys, ribs, or soft tissues. Delayed signs of internal bleeding can include difficulty breathing, vomiting or coughing up blood, dizziness, abdominal pain, or blood in the urine or stool.

These and other injuries can have a detrimental impact on your health and well-being but are not always immediately apparent. For the sake of your health and your personal injury claim, it is important to see a doctor after a car accident.

In addition to visiting with a physician, it is also in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney promptly after a wreck. A lawyer can investigate the facts in your case, gather evidence to support your claim, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If a fair settlement cannot be negotiated with the insurance company, an attorney can represent you in court and fight for the full and fair compensation to which you may be entitled under Illinois law.

Call a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer for Free

Time may already be running out on your claim. If you were hurt in a crash because of someone else’s negligence, contact a Chicago car accident lawyer at Coplan + Crane today.

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To learn more about how our firm can help you, contact us today online or at (708) 358-8080 for a FREE initial consultation. We proudly serve clients in Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas in Illinois.