Car accidents can be traumatic, and it's crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a collision. Even if you feel fine or have no visible injuries, seeing a doctor after a car accident is essential, since many car accident injuries may not appear until hours or even days after the incident.
Here, we’ll cover when to see a car accident doctor, the warning signs indicating the need for immediate medical attention, the benefits of seeking medical attention after a car accident, and how to find the right car accident doctor.
When to See a Car Accident Doctor
So, how long after an accident should you see a doctor? After a collision, you’ll want to see a doctor as soon as possible—even if you have no visible injuries. It’s possible that the adrenaline rush from the accident may be masking the pain or discomfort that your body is actually experiencing. Some injuries, like internal bleeding or traumatic head injuries, may not show any signs or symptoms immediately after the auto accident. With this in mind, you should always seek the guidance of a doctor following a car accident, regardless of how you feel.1
It’s highly recommended to see a medical professional if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Headaches or migraines
- Neck or back pain
- Abdominal pain
- Numbness or tingling in the limbs
- Swelling or bruising
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
After being involved in an accident, it's critical to arrange an appointment with a physician regardless of whether or not any injuries are present. The doctor will examine you thoroughly and diagnose any underlying car accident injury that may not be immediately apparent.
Warning Signs That Mean You Should See a Doctor
In some cases, not all symptoms resulting from a motor vehicle accident are apparent right away. Some can manifest after a few days or weeks. That's why it's crucial to be aware of the signs that indicate you need to seek medical attention. The most common warning signs that mean you should see a doctor include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision or sensitivity to light
- Loss of memory or difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings or personality changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Persistent muscle soreness or stiffness
Some of these symptoms are high risk and may suggest serious injuries such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury.2 You should seek medical care if you begin to experience any of these warning signs.
The Benefits of Seeing a Car Accident Doctor
After a car accident, it’s normal to feel unclear about what to do next. Even if you aren't in severe discomfort, consulting a doctor may benefit you. In the next section, we'll discuss the advantages of seeing a doctor following a vehicle accident, as well as how it might affect your general health and well-being.
Benefit #1: Receive Proper Diagnosis
One of the main advantages of seeing a doctor after a car accident is receiving a proper diagnosis. Even if you feel fine, you may have underlying injuries that require immediate attention. For example, whiplash, one of the most common car accident injuries, may not present symptoms until several days after the accident.3 Seeing a medical professional can help you identify and address these issues before they worsen.
Benefit #2: Prevent Long-Term Complications
Additionally, seeing a medical professional can help prevent long-term complications. If they go untreated, soft tissue injuries may lead to chronic pain, restricted mobility, and other potential long-term health issues.4 By consulting with a doctor to receive medical treatment, you can minimize the risk of developing these complications.
Benefit #3: Document Your Injuries
Another benefit of seeing a car accident doctor is documenting your injuries. If you visit an urgent care or ER care after a car accident, your doctor creates a medical record that documents your injuries and medical treatment. This documentation can be used as evidence in a personal injury claim if you decide to pursue compensation for your damages.
Benefit #4: Protect Your Legal Rights
Finally, seeking medical attention is essential to protecting your legal rights.A car accident could make you eligible for financial constitution, yet neglecting to receive medical care could weaken your case. Insurance providers may try to make the case that your wounds are not serious enough to receive any reimbursement or that your injuries were made worse by not seeking medical care.
How to Find the Right Car Accident Doctor
After a car crash, finding the right doctor is crucial for your recovery. Here are a few useful tips to help you find the right car accident doctor:
- Ask for Referrals: Ask your family, friends, and co-workers if they have any recommendations for a car accident doctor. They may have had a similar experience and can provide valuable insights.
- Check Online Reviews: Look for reviews of local doctors online. Check websites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, and Zocdoc to see what other patients have said about their experiences with the doctor.
- Verify Credentials: Make sure the doctor is licensed and certified in their area of expertise. Check their credentials with your state's medical board.
- Look for Experience: It's essential to seek a doctor with experience treating car accident injuries. Seek out doctors who specialize in treating auto accident victims.
- Consider Location and Availability: Choose a doctor who is conveniently located and has flexible hours to accommodate your schedule.
The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After a Car Accident
Car accidents and their aftermath can be traumatic experiences, and even a minor fender bender can result in significant injuries. It's essential to see a doctor even if you don't have visible injuries, as some injuries may not appear right away. By seeing a doctor after a car accident, you can ensure that any injuries are treated promptly and avoid potential long-term health issues. Many car accident injuries, such as whiplash or soft tissue damage, may worsen over time if left untreated.
If you've been in a car crash, seeking medical attention is essential for your health, wellness, and eventual recovery. Even if you feel fine after the accident, it's still a good idea to get checked out by a doctor to ensure that any injuries are treated promptly. By doing so, you can avoid potential long-term health issues while also documenting your injuries and protecting your legal rights.
Head to Mighty's Attorney Directory to find a trusted car accident attorney in your area today.
- Reid Physicians Group. “Why Pain Sustained after an Auto Accident Is Often Delayed.”, https://www.reidphysicians.com/blog/why-pain-sustained-after-an-auto-accident-is-often-delayed.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Head Injury.” www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/head-injury.
- Mayo Clinic. “Whiplash.” www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/whiplash/symptoms-causes/syc-20378921.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Pain.” www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/pain.
Written ByLuke Krolak
Client Operations Lead
About the author
Luke is a warm-hearted and highly skilled legal operations expert with an impressive 8-year track record in the personal injury field. As the Client Operations Lead at Mighty, he is dedicated to providing exceptional support, transparent communication, and genuine empathy to clients during their challenging journey. His expertise in streamlining processes and implementing cutting-edge technology makes him an indispensable ally for clients, case managers, and attorneys in their pursuit of justice.
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