When Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
The most important aspect of a personal injury case is the facts. How the law applies to those facts is critical too, but the chances your case will break new legal ground is almost zero. Facts are normally the main reason why a case wins or loses, a settlement is considerable or disappointing. If you’re involved in a vehicle accident in the Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg areas, the cause of your injuries, their extent and long term impact are very important facts in a lawsuit seeking compensation for those injuries.
That’s why you should get medical attention as soon as possible after your accident. If you’re injured or feel so shaken up you shouldn’t drive, after the police arrive, ask for an ambulance if one isn’t already there. If you’re unconscious, semi-conscious or suffered a serious injury the police officer should call for one without you even asking.
See a doctor as soon as possible
If you feel OK and you can drive your vehicle, as soon as possible after the accident, whether that’s directly from the accident scene or no later than the following day, either see your physician or if he or she isn’t available, go to a local medical clinic or hospital emergency department.
This is necessary so whatever injuries you’ve suffered can be addressed as quickly as possible. You may also have injuries that you’re unaware of because you could literally be numb to them because of the stress of the situation. Tests, x-rays, CT scans or MRI’s could be needed to find what, if anything, is wrong with you and if so, what that problem is and what should be done about it.
The exam, tests and treatment help document important facts for your case too. They will establish that the trauma of the vehicle accident caused your injuries, their extent and how they impact you. You may also need to follow up within days of your medical care because some injuries won’t show themselves until some time passes.
Medical records help you prove your case
The longer you delay in seeing a medical professional, the greater the risk the insurance company representing the other party will claim your injuries weren’t caused by the accident. The insurance company may claim you slipped and fell at home, were injured at work or involved in another accident involving a different driver.
Also, with the delay you risk the claim that you’re to blame that the injuries you suffered are so bad. You didn’t act like a reasonable person to get medical attention promptly. As a result you aggravated the injuries, the situation worsened and the insurance company won’t want to pay for your mistakes.
Most vehicle accident injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. In these cases the plaintiff has the burden of showing several elements.
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty to do, or not do, something given the situation (the defendant should not run stop signs).
- The defendant violated or breached that duty (he or she ran the stop sign).
- That breach was, in fact, the cause of the accident (the truck driven by the defendant didn’t stop at the stop sign and collided into the plaintiff’s car).
- The breach was the legal or proximate cause of the accident.
- As a result of the accident the plaintiff suffered injuries and resulting damages.
- Under Virginia law, the plaintiff can receive compensation for those types of injuries.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving all these elements, including number five. Even if there is strong evidence establishing one through four, without being able to prove injuries were caused in the accident, there is no case. Getting medical attention as soon as possible after an accident will help you prove there’s a connection between the accident and your injuries, as well as establishing how severe they are and their impact on your life.
Call our office as soon as possible after your vehicle accident, too
Cravens & Noll handles all types of vehicle accidents for our clients. Not only can we protect your legal rights, we can help you get the medical care you need and deal with the insurance company so you can focus on recovery and living your life. For the individual attention you deserve and a full explanation of your rights, call Cravens & Noll’s Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico and Harrisonburg offices at (804) 330-9220 for a free consultation.
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