Car accident injuries do not always cause noticeable symptoms right away. You may not believe you have injuries serious enough to warrant paramedics or a trip to the hospital. However, if you have any pain or other signs of an injury, going to the ER after a car accident is a good idea.
What you need to know about this visit and how it could affect your legal case centers on getting a diagnosis, treatment, and documentation of your injuries. You should not let worries about paying for the visit keep you away from the emergency department. A car accident attorney can help you hold the at-fault driver legally responsible for this and other related damages.
Getting Care for Your Injuries Should Be Your First Priority
It can take hours, days, or even weeks before car accident injuries show symptoms. However, the sooner you can get a diagnosis and begin treatment, the better. There are two primary reasons you may want to go to the emergency department with paramedics who respond to the crash scene or go to the local ER later.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Identifying any injuries and beginning treatment quickly after they occur can often improve the possible outcome. You may prevent an injury from becoming an emergent concern. Some serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and internal bleeding, are not obvious until they become severe. An early assessment can mean the difference in life or death in some cases.
Documenting Your Injuries
The second key reason to see a doctor as soon as possible is that it is necessary for your civil case against the at-fault driver. You must ensure your injuries are well-documented in your medical records and that your file shows they occurred because of the crash. To do this, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible after the collision and undergo comprehensive testing and evaluation.
If you do not see a doctor quickly after an accident, the insurance company representing the at-fault driver may try to claim your injuries were not a result of the collision. This could make it more difficult to recover compensation through a car accident claim.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
What to Expect When You Visit the ER
Nurses and doctors in ERs and emergency departments of trauma centers see car accident victims daily. They know how to assess their injuries and clear them of serious concerns or put a plan in place to address them. The staff will likely:
- Ask you about the accident, including when, where, and how it occurred
- Want to know where you were in the car and where the car was hit
- Make notes of any symptoms you report
- Conduct a physical exam to look for any injuries
- Order preliminary medical imaging depending on other findings
In general, you can expect a thorough exam of your head, neck and back, abdomen, and the rest of your body. If you experience pain or swelling in your knees, hips, shoulders, or other joints, you may need an MRI or another imaging scan beyond X-rays.
The doctor may perform additional tests to confirm or rule out orthopedic injuries and/or internal injuries, depending on the symptoms you report or the signs they observe.
Getting Started With Your Car Accident Injury Claim
As soon as your injuries are stable, you should contact a personal injury law firm about your rights and legal options for compensation. They may not be able to file an insurance claim until you reach maximum medical recovery, or they know details about your prognosis, but they can go to work investigating your case and building support for the claim.
Most personal injury law firms do not charge upfront fees. Instead, they work based on a contingency fee. They receive a portion of the money they recover for their clients in a settlement or jury verdict. They do not charge attorney’s fees if they do not win the case.
Deadlines for filing these cases can vary from state to state. You only have one year to get started in Louisiana under La. Civ. Code Art. 3492 or three years in Mississippi per Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49. Most other states fall within this same range. Your best option is to contact an attorney as your injuries allow so you can learn about the timeline to develop your claim and move forward with your case.
Morris Bart, LLC Provides Free Consultations for Injured Crash Victims
At the Morris Bart law firm, our team reviews car accident injury cases for free. We can assess your legal options based on the facts of your case and discuss how you may be able to recover money damages based on your losses and expenses. The areas we serve include all of the Gulf South: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
Call (800) 537-8185 today to speak with an attorney about your rights for free.
to find a Morris Bart office near you.