Yes. Whenever you leave the scene of a car accident, your next stop should always be the emergency room. Although this may seem unnecessary or dramatic, ER doctors are specially trained to evaluate trauma patients, and even the most “minor” car accident is a traumatic event.
When you experience trauma, your body releases hormones and triggers a physiological reaction known as the fight-or-flight response or the acute stress response. This response can be completely unconscious and may cover up symptoms of certain injuries. For example, consider an athlete who slices their leg open during a sporting event and finishes the game, regardless. While the game is underway, the athlete might not even notice their injury, but when the heat of the moment has faded, they might notice they are bleeding. The same principle applies to car accidents. Because the speed and impact of car crashes are not natural for the human body, you may be experiencing a fight-or-flight response even if you feel normal.
Your symptoms might show up while you are sitting in the waiting room, or the doctor may be able to detect an injury you hadn’t yet noticed. Of course, every patient is different, and your symptoms may emerge weeks or even months later.
What If My Injuries Emerge Later?
Even if the ER doctor gives you the “all clear,” they will ask you to keep an eye on your physical and emotional health. If you notice any symptoms, like a stiff neck, a persistent headache, severe bruising, or a sore lower back, call your doctor immediately.
Documenting your symptoms is incredibly important, so be descriptive about what you are feeling. If you struggle with your mental health after a car accident (i.e., feeling stressed, scared, or depressed), you may want to contact a therapist and keep a journal where you write your feelings down.
All of these actions not only help you prioritize your health, but they will also help you if you choose to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
How to File a Car Accident Claim
No matter when your injuries emerge, you should seek treatment. Once the doctor has a good idea of how the car accident has affected your body and mind and whether or not you will make a full recovery, you should contact an attorney.
A lawyer, like the ones at Action Law Group, will help present your accident-related losses in monetary terms and recover the compensation you deserve from the insurance company. We can help you account for medical bills, missed wages, mental health issues, and all other damages.
The first step of a car accident claim is often a free consultation, and our attorneys won’t get paid until you win. We have been fighting for our clients since for over 50 combined years, and we are ready to fight for you, too.