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How Soon After a Car Accident Should I See a Doctor?

Collecting financial compensation for a car accident in Virginia typically requires proof of your injuries and losses. One of the main types of evidence an insurance company will look for is documentation of your injuries in the form of medical records. It is important for the strength of your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to see a doctor immediately after a car accident. Otherwise, an insurance company could take it as a reason to deny coverage.

see a doctor after a car accident

The Same Day

Ideally, you should see a doctor right away after a car accident in Richmond – the same day as the collision. Prompt medical care can help a doctor quickly diagnose your injuries and provide potentially life-saving treatments. Going to an ER immediately also shows an insurance company that you did your part to treat your injuries before they got worse, and that the injuries you are claiming did in fact happen in the auto accident. It is especially important to see a doctor if you notice symptoms of an injury after a crash.

  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Inability to move a part of your body
  • Pain when you move
  • Headaches
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Mood or behavioral changes

Some common car accident injuries are broken bones, pulled muscles, soft-tissue injuries, concussions and other brain injuries, back and spine injuries, whiplash, organ damage, lacerations, and burns. If you feel unusual at all after getting into an accident, go to the nearest emergency room in Richmond for a checkup. Explain that you were just in a car accident and need a comprehensive physical review. A doctor can diagnose injuries that are both obvious and hidden, as well as provide critical injury treatments.

Delayed Injury Symptoms

Many people involved in car accidents believe they only need to go to the hospital if they feel injury symptoms, such as pain, stiffness or swelling. While it is important to go to the hospital for these reasons, it is not the only time you should seek medical care after a collision. The best way to protect your health and your legal rights is by going to the hospital or your regular doctor after any car accident, even if you feel fine. The reason for this is the possibility of delayed injury symptoms.

Some injuries naturally have delayed symptoms based on how they impact the victim and the body. Many traumatic brain injuries, for example, cause slow bleeds, leaks or swelling in the brain that may not initially have a noticeable effect on the victim. Over a few hours or days, however, the problem can grow worse until it causes symptoms such as seizures or unconsciousness. Other common injuries with delayed symptoms include whiplash, herniated disks, slipped disks, back injuries and broken bones. If you see a doctor immediately, he or she can use special tests and imaging scans to diagnose injuries before you notice symptoms – often leading to a better survival rate.

In other cases, your adrenaline from the car accident could hide the symptoms of an injury at first. A car accident can pump adrenaline through your veins that works as a pain suppressant, making it so you do not notice your injuries right away. This is why it is important not to tell the police or an insurance company that you are uninjured until you have visited a doctor. You may have injuries from the crash that you have not noticed yet. Saying you are not injured, then changing your answer later when symptoms arise, can look suspicious to an insurance company. Always see a physician right away after a car accident for the best odds of making a complete physical recovery.