No matter what type of accident you’re in–vehicle accident, slip-and-fall, tripping over debris, or falling down a poorly lighted stairway—you should seek medical attention, even if you don’t think you’re hurt or just have minor bruises and aches. It’s essential to do so for several reasons. Read on to learn why from our personal injury attorneys.
Why Should I See a Doctor After an Accident?
One of the most important reasons to see a doctor after you’ve had an accident is that it’s not uncommon for many injury symptoms to take time to appear. Significant injuries, including internal ones, may not be symptomatic immediately, but if not treated, they can be dangerous. While it doesn’t sound logical, pain may not be apparent at first either, or there may be pain from a serious injury that’s masked by another more painful but less severe problem. Even if an initial doctor’s visit doesn’t find anything right away, symptoms may appear days later. That signifies the need to return to the doctor for re-evaluation.
Besides the need to have medical conditions treated, so they don’t worsen or cause follow-on conditions, seeing a doctor also creates a paper trail that’s necessary for any insurance claims or lawsuits. Without medical records, the person or organization that may be responsible for your injuries might claim that you had the injuries prior to the accident, so they shouldn’t be held responsible.
Depending on the type and severity of the accident itself, you may be in shock right after it occurs. Someone in shock may be confused or disoriented and not understand what’s happened or how they feel. The shock itself can be a dangerous condition that needs immediate medical attention.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Be Caused by an Accident?
There’s no way to make a complete list of all the types of injuries that can occur in an accident. But every part of the body has the potential for injury. Severity can range from mild bruising and localized pain to death. The more severe the accident, the more severe the injuries are likely to be, but even severe injuries may not be apparent right away.
Here are some of the most common injuries and how they typically happen:
- Broken bones. These can happen in a wide variety of accidents, including vehicle accidents or falls. They’re usually quickly apparent due to pain and an inability to use the broken limb.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is particularly common in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. The body is severely shoved back and forth by the impact from the collision, leading to neck and bain pain, blurred vision, or dizziness, among other symptoms.
- Spinal cord injuries. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to paralysis. It’s caused by a sudden severe blow to the spine, which causes one or more vertebrae to break, become dislocated, or crushed. These happen in a variety of accidents as well, especially vehicle accidents and falls. They’re also common sports injuries.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs occur when the head sustains a heavy blow. This happens when there’s a sharp blow to the head and is one of the conditions that may not present symptoms right away. TBIs are caused by a wide variety of accidents, anything that causes a blow to the head. Symptoms include dizziness, disorientation, and possible loss of consciousness.
- Soft tissue injuries. Bruising and pain are the usual symptoms of soft tissue injuries (although they don’t always show up immediately), which can occur in most accidents. The pain may be related to sprains, strains, or stress injuries, which often happen in falls.
- Burns and scarring. These are more likely to happen in an accident that involves intense heat or fire, such as a vehicle accident leading to a fire. These will be noticeable quickly and tend to be quite painful.
- Internal bleeding. This is an especially important condition for a doctor to check for after an accident. Initially, there may be no symptoms, but if the bleeding is severe, it can be dangerous. It can take place anywhere in the body and eventually cause pain, lightheadedness, or seizures. Sometimes these present no symptoms, and the body heals itself. Unfortunately, there are other times when by the time the symptoms appear, the patient is already in danger. This is especially important to look for after an accident, even if there are no immediate symptoms.
What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident, Even if I Don’t Think I’m Injured?
As discussed above, see a doctor whether you think you’re injured or not. If you are, contact us at 303-597-4500 for your free, in-depth, no-obligation case evaluation. If the accident is someone else’s fault (reckless driver, uncleared icy sidewalk, poorly lighted stairway, etc.), we can go through what options you have to recover damages and seek a claim or settlement.
Something that it’s important not to do: Don’t speak with the responsible party’s attorney or insurance representative. They represent the party that may owe you damages, so they’re looking out for their client, not you. They have tactics to try and get you to accept blame, at least partially, for the accident so their client can pay much less (or nothing) to make you whole.
Don’t discuss settlements, and don’t sign paperwork they might send you. Instead, refer them to your own personal injury lawyer, who represents your best interests and focuses on getting the best outcomes for you.