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Can I Still Make a Claim Even If I Don’t Receive Medical Attention Right Away?

Can I Still Make a Claim Even If I Don’t Receive Medical Attention Right Away? 

After a car crash, the confusion of the scene can make it hard for people to focus on their own bodies and assess themselves for possible injuries. While some injuries are obvious, others may not be noticeable until after the shock and stress of the accident subside. Injuries that don’t seem serious at first—just a little tenderness or a minor headache, for example—may worsen as the days pass.  

Unfortunately, delays in medical treatment can have serious consequences for a person’s health and personal injury case. Insurance companies look for delays in treatment, no matter how slight, and use them to lower a settlement offer or even reject a claim entirely.  

Why some people delay medical treatment 

People decline medical care after an accident for a lot of reasons. Often, it’s due to our bodies’ physical response to the trauma of the accident itself. When we’re in a stressful situation like a crash, our bodies flood with adrenaline, helping mask pain and keep us going until we’re somewhere safe. It’s why many people experience the crash and its aftermath as a blur, only realizing they are in pain hours or even days later.  

At other times, people may realize they are injured but choose to turn down immediate care. Sometimes fears over insurance coverage and bills come into play. Existing plans may seem higher priority—like pushing through pain in order to make it on time to a child’s daycare pickup or get home to pack for family vacation the next day. In such situations, a person pushes aside pain until it’s impossible to ignore. Some folks may just want to get home and rest, while others decline emergency care with the intention of making an eventual appointment with their own doctor.  

But while all of these are understandable responses to an already stressful situation, they can leave a crash victim open to medical complications and harm a personal injury case.  

Medical consequences of waiting 

After any crash, your first priority should always be your health. While it’s helpful to document the scene and speak with responding officers, prompt medical attention is the priority. Delays in care can lead to major complications down the road or may limit your physical recovery.  

You’ll want to go to the emergency room if you hit your head or are experiencing a headache, nausea, dizziness or sensitivity to light and sound. These are signs that you could have a brain injury. You’ll also want to seek care if you’re experiencing pain in your neck, shoulders or back. While you may brush it off as tension or stiffness, you could have a soft tissue injury or a herniated disc. If you have any trouble breathing or are bleeding, it’s also critical to get urgent care after a crash. If you’re pregnant, you’ll want to seek emergency treatment and call your obstetrician (even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms) to ensure that you and your baby are safe.   

Remember, too, that if you go home after an accident and start to feel worse, it’s not too late to seek care. Emergency room physicians understand common car crash injuries and will know what to look for.  

Consequences to your personal injury case 

Like most legal cases, personal injury suits require evidence to be successful. While some of that evidence may be related to fault—like a witness testifying that she saw the other driver run a red light—much is medical evidence proving that you were, in fact, injured in the crash.  

When you delay treatment, it becomes harder to prove that you were injured in the crash and not in some previous or subsequent accident. If you wait long enough, the insurance company can even argue that your injuries aren’t that serious if you were able to delay care. That’s why it’s important to seek care, follow-up with any specialist appointments and keep records of everything for your personal injury attorney.  

If you’ve delayed treatment, it may not be too late to receive some compensation. Talk to a Macon personal injury attorney to discuss your options.  

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill  

If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you need an attorney who can prove you were injured in the crash. At Buzzell, Welsh & Hill, our team has the experience and knowledge to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (478) 217-2072 for a free case consultation.  

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