Getting Medical Attention

Even if you’re free of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention right after a crash. If you’re not transported to a hospital from the scene of the wreck, go as soon as you can to one of the facilities listed below, explain that you’ve been in an accident, and request a thorough examination.

Emergency Room

If you’ve suffered severe injuries and need immediate treatment or surgery, the ER has access to all hospital resources/facilities and can address catastrophic injuries. If you don’t have a severe injury, the ER doctor might just examine you and prescribe pain medication. In that case, you should schedule a follow-up visit with your own doctor.

Urgent Care Facility

You can probably schedule an appointment here more quickly than you can a visit with your own doctor, and time is a factor. The urgent care won’t have access to the equipment an ER does, and the doctor probably won’t know your medical history, but you can get an exam there and document your injuries. 

Your Primary Doctor

It might take a while to get an appointment with your doctor, but you should follow up any emergency treatment with a visit to your regular physician. They will:

  • Have access to your medical records
  • Be aware of pre-existing conditions and able to show evidence they didn’t cause your current injuries
  • Take an interest in your case and sufficient time for a thorough exam or follow-up to a previous one

A doctor’s exam, X-rays, and other procedures can reveal injuries you don’t realize you have and allow your doctor to begin treatment soon. Timely diagnosis and treatment are likely to mean a faster, more complete recovery. If you delay medical attention, you could aggravate your condition and suffer continued pain and other symptoms for an extended period of time. 

Prevent a Disputed Claim

Another reason to seek immediate treatment after a vehicle accident is to document the injuries you’ve suffered in the crash. Doing so will strengthen your insurance claim. If you allow time to elapse between the wreck and your medical exam, you’re just giving ammunition to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Its adjusters are paid to dispute, devalue, or deny as many accident claims as they can to keep their company profitable. Any time lapse between your wreck and your exam/treatment gives the company an opening to:

  • Suggest your injuries were caused by something other than your wreck
  • Insist you’re not as seriously hurt as you say you are
  • Offer you a lower settlement than you deserve or even deny your claim

Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice and treatment guidelines. Keep receipts and all other documentation of your medical visits, prescriptions, and treatments.

The more serious your injuries and the more expensive your claim, the more likely the insurance company is to pressure you into accepting a quick, low settlement before you even know:

  • The full extent of your health issues
  • What treatment is required
  • Your estimated recovery time
  • Your total medical expenses


Dirk J. Derrick
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South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.