Car accident injuries can range from minor bruising to serious, life-threatening conditions. No matter how severe your car accident injuries are, you need to see a doctor who can properly evaluate and treat you. Plus, if the other driver was at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation from their insurance company. Seeing a doctor helps back up your claim for damages.
Here’s what you need to know about the type of doctor to see after a car accident.
What Type of Treatment Should I Get Right After a Car Accident?
The most important factor after a car accident is your health. A medical professional needs to check out your injuries so you can get the treatment you need. The type of treatment you receive and the doctor you see depends on the severity of your injuries.
Depending on the situation, you may need to see a(n):
- Emergency room doctor
- Urgent care doctor
- Primary care physician
- Medical specialists, such as a surgeon, neurologist or psychiatrist
Emergency Room Doctor
If your injuries are serious, you will need to see a doctor in the emergency room (ER). Life-threatening injuries should be addressed right away, so call 911 at the scene of the accident if you need an ambulance. Do not delay getting the treatment you need right away.
The ER is also your best option if your accident happens late at night and your injuries worsen soon afterward. An ER doctor will be available at any time of the night, outside of regular clinic office hours.
Urgent Care or Primary Care Doctor
If you do not have life-threatening injuries, plan to see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. You could drive yourself to an urgent care clinic to get examined and treated. These typically have longer clinical hours than a primary care physician (PCP) and you can walk in without an appointment.
If your injuries can wait long enough to make an appointment, you can call your PCP and tell them you need a physical examination for a car accident. Be warned, however, that many primary doctors will not see someone after a car accident (more on that below).
Tell the doctor how you feel, and mention anything that feels painful or “off.” Let them know if your injuries affect your day-to-day life in any way. They can examine any clear injuries or run a series of tests to check for other problems. An accurate diagnosis will ensure you receive proper treatment.
In some situations, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for additional treatment or testing. This might be because you need surgeries or have specific injuries. Seeing a specialist can improve your treatment timeline.
Also, be sure to:
- Follow all instructions from your doctor. If they ask you to schedule an appointment with a specialist, do it as soon as you can
- Keep up with all appointments and treatment directions
- Listen to your doctor so you heal properly and don’t put yourself at increased risk
You will also need to be responsible for your treatment for insurance purposes. If you’re making an insurance claim for damages and don’t keep up with doctor’s appointments, the insurance company may claim you aren’t hurt as badly as you say you are. It can hurt your chances of receiving fair compensation.
What if My Primary Care Doctor Won’t See Me After the Accident?
This is actually incredibly common. A lot of doctors will not see car accident victims because they are either:
- Not set up to bill auto insurance companies
- Uncomfortable treating car accident injuries in case they could be called to testify in court
There are still primary care doctors who will treat car accident victims, but they are harder to find than ever. If your PCP’s office tells you that they won’t treat you, call a personal injury law firm like John Foy & Associates. You can speak to a car accident lawyer and they can set you up with a doctor in your area who will treat you.
If you need treatment right away and can’t find a doctor who can help, go to the ER or urgent care. Even if you have to pay out of pocket, the fees are subject to reimbursement from your claim.
Do I Always Have to See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
Yes. It’s best to see a doctor even if you feel fine. Many car accident injuries are not apparent right away, and they can worsen quickly once they show up. For example, you can have any of the following injuries and not know right away:
- Head and neck injuries, such as whiplash, concussion or brain blood clots
- Injury or damage to back muscles, nerves or ligaments
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal column injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
It can be easy to overlook symptoms like headaches, minor aches, and pains, numbness or swelling, but these can all be signs of something more serious. It’s best to get checked out, just in case.
Need Help from a Car Accident Lawyer?
John Foy & Associates can help answer any of your questions after a car accident, including how to make sure you see the right doctor. We have been helping car accident victims win the compensation they need for over 20 years. We can help you, too—starting with a FREE consultation. To get started today, call us at (404) 400-4000 now.