Why Should I Always See My Doctor After a Car Accident?

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Doctor Examining PatientYou should always get a thorough medical evaluation after an auto accident to find out if you have any injuries that need treatment. An untreated injury can worsen and become a more significant problem down the road. Also, your medical records provide important evidence that the wreck caused your injuries. This can help you recover compensation when you file an insurance claim.

What Should a Doctor Check for After a Car Accident?

It is important that your doctor checks you for whiplash after a crash. Car accidents are a common cause of this type of injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, the prognosis is optimistic for whiplash victims who undergo a few months of treatment. This can include physical therapy, exercises, and pain medications.

You might think that the stiffness and soreness you start to feel a day or two after a wreck is just a temporary inconvenience that will go away on its own, but without the correct medical interventions, whiplash can cause you to experience chronic neck pain and long-term complications. Prompt medical attention is essential when you are dealing with whiplash after a car accident.

When Should You See Your Doctor for a Whiplash Evaluation After a Wreck?

If any of these symptoms develop within a few days of a car accident, you should see your doctor as soon as possible for a whiplash evaluation:

  • Your neck is stiff and painful;
  • It hurts more when you move your neck;
  • You cannot move your neck as far in any direction as you could before the wreck;
  • You have a headache, usually centered on the base of your skull;
  • Your shoulders, upper back, or arms are numb, tingling, tender, or painful; or
  • You feel tired or dizzy.

If you experience these symptoms, get medical attention right away.

Can You Have a Herniated Disc With No Symptoms?

Yes, you can. The Mayo Clinic says that herniated discs can appear on spinal images before people experience pain or other symptoms. Since a car crash can cause a herniated disc, you should have your doctor perform an evaluation even if you are not yet feeling any signs of a problem.

If you are having symptoms, it can be helpful to know if what you are experiencing might be a herniated disc from a car accident. Get medical attention right away if you have any of the following symptoms.

Pain in Your Arm or Leg

Often the discomfort will shoot into your arm or leg if you move a certain way, or if you sneeze or cough.

Weakness in Your Arms or Legs

If you are having difficulty climbing stairs, you are stumbling, or you are finding it hard to pick up or carry things, you might have a damaged disc in your spine.

Tingling or Numbness, Usually in Your Arms or Legs

If the injured disc is in the lower area of your back, you may experience numbness or tingling sensations in your buttocks or legs. Problems with your shoulders or arms could indicate a rupture or herniation higher in the spine.

How Long Can It Take for Head Injury Symptoms to Develop?

You might think that something as significant as a head injury would be apparent immediately, but the U.S. National Library of Medicine says that it can take days or even weeks for the signs of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) to appear after the injury. Millions of Americans per year sustain brain injuries, and most of them need treatment at a hospital. Car accidents are a common cause of brain injuries in the United States.

If you hit your head during a crash, you should see a doctor right away, regardless of whether you are feeling anything unusual. Bleeding in the brain and other complications of TBI can lead to permanent brain damage or death if you do not receive immediate treatment.

You should get a neurological evaluation if you are experiencing:

  • Headaches;
  • Ringing in your ears;
  • Neck pain;
  • Nausea;
  • Dizziness; or
  • Fatigue.

Get emergency medical treatment for:

  • A worsening or lingering headache;
  • Continuing nausea or vomiting;
  • Seizures or convulsions;
  • Numbness or weakness in your arms or legs;
  • Dilated eye pupils; or
  • Changes in your speech, such as slurring.

How Can Seeing My Doctor After a Car Accident Protect My Right to Compensation?

Your doctor does not have a financial interest in your injury claim, so your medical records are unbiased evidence of what happened to you. When you go to the doctor for an evaluation and treatment, the staff will note why you came into the office and what injuries or symptoms they observed.

These notes in your medical records establish the link between your injuries and the wreck. Just make sure your doctor writes down that the car accident was the cause of your injuries. Without this evidence, the at-fault driver could claim that some other event caused your injuries.

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Case.

At Max Meyers Law, our personal injury team will be happy to evaluate your claim and tell you if you might be eligible for compensation. Call us at 425-399-7000 to get your free consultation.

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.