Life after auto accidents can be a stressful time. Aside from dealing with the insurance company and paying for any car damage, there are medical issues to deal with. Most people are in pain after a car accident, and they ask themselves, "What doctor should I see after a car accident?"
When it's uncertain who to call for medical help and advice, it's crucial to learn what to do after an accident injury and what legal process options are available for filing a personal injury claim.
Why See a Personal Injury Doctor After Car Accident Injuries
It's crucial to see a doctor and get a physical examination as soon as possible. These doctors are there to immediately treat people after a car accident, so the victim is in good hands. Aside from that, if injuries worsen, someone is available to help, which lowers medical bills.
Most doctors focus on the accident injury and can document the information needed for insurance companies. However, if that isn't enough, it might be wise to request a free consultation from a personal injury lawyer to get legal advice.
In most cases, the victim of a car accident has immediate symptoms that must be handled by the emergency room or urgent care facility. From there, follow-up care is crucial to deal with minor aches and pains the victim might feel.
Overall, treatment might be handled by various doctors, such as an orthopedic team. This means medical bills can rise after the initial urgent care visit, and most insurance companies try to lower their costs.
Therefore, when the injuries are healed, it might be time to call a personal injury lawyer for assistance.
Car accidents often lead to specific injuries that don't happen in other situations. Therefore, the kind of doctor needed is one who specializes in personal injury from car accidents. They've got specialties that help them deal with injuries and give the victim the right care.
With that, these doctors know when orthopedic care is needed, so the urgent care facility might recommend specialists to deal with those injuries after an accident.
After an auto accident, the victim is likely not focused on filing a claim. However, at one point, the lawyer must gather all the medical documents and get every single detail about the car accident and treatment provided.
They take notes on the injuries received and what treatments are being administered. If future treatments are required, they may help the victim find the right doctor to visit for assistance.
Regardless of the kind of doctor chosen after an auto accident, they should directly bill the insurance company so that the victim doesn't pay for treatment out of pocket. Most doctors accept various forms of insurance and don't require a referral from a primary care physician.
However, if the victim cannot pay and has no medical insurance, they should still be checked by a doctor for their well-being and to reduce pain following injuries related to the accident.
With that, they may see a doctor or go to the emergency room without the ability to pay and work out payment options later. The ultimate goal is to seek treatment for the injury to prevent new symptoms from arising.
What to Do Immediately After an Accident
Whether severe injuries are present after a car accident or the victim might still feel fine, they should get treatment. Here are the steps to take:
Call an Ambulance When Needed
Many car accident injuries are life-threatening, so it's crucial to call emergency responders to take the victim to the emergency room doctor.
Sometimes, though, it's impossible to tell if the injuries are very severe. If police are called to the scene, they can determine if an ambulance is required. Sometimes, people don't have issues at first and then decide to go to the ER; if that happens, make sure someone else drives to avoid hurting others.
See a Doctor
Many times, people feel they're fine after the accident because they didn't have to go to the ER. However, it's still good to consider which doctor to see after a car accident. Primary care doctors are the best options here because the adrenaline might have masked the issue, and the ER wasn't necessary at the time.
Car accidents are fickle; there's no way to know if there are significant injuries until things settle down. As the body starts relaxing, the pain might come. It's best to see a doctor to get checked out. That way, the victim knows what the problem is and what treatment is required.
Typically, a PCP is likely to send the victim to a specialist. Depending on the injury type, different people can help. A common car accident specialist is a neck/spine doctor. Most accidents end up causing injury to those areas.
Types of Doctors
Many times, victims ask themselves, "What doctor should I see after a car accident?" Here are the various doctor options and what they do:
Emergency Room Doctors
Typically, the first doctor the victim sees is an ER doctor. This is often because the car accident injuries are severe, life-threatening, or near-fatal.
The emergency room doctor provides critical and immediate treatment to keep the victim stable. However, they only offer emergency room care and essential medicine.
Regardless of what hospital is used, there's always a doctor on standby. Therefore, if the accident happens overnight or at unusual times, they are present to assist.
Primary Care Physician
A primary care physician is the next step for most people. Typically, victims go to their primary care doctors for follow-up treatments and checkups after the car accident. However, in some situations, they don't want to see the victim, especially if there is a personal injury lawsuit in the works. Learn more about what happens in that situation later.
Depending on the nature of the injuries, the victim might require further treatment from a specialist doctor. These referrals happen when the wounds are on specific body parts, such as the feet or hands.
Ultimately, there could be a need for ongoing care for car accident injuries if surgery is required. Here are some of the specialists the victim might encounter:
Chiropractors can relieve pain and issues with the spine and muscles, joints, and bones surrounding it. Though chiropractic care is unconventional for a car accident, some people prefer it for elbow, shoulder, back, and neck pain.
Orthopedic Doctor or Orthopedic Surgeon
Orthopedic doctors treat the musculoskeletal system, which includes tendons, nerves, ligaments, joints, and bones. Car accident victims might need an orthopedic doctor if the initial treating physician sees a bone wound. Overall, an orthopedic surgeon might be required in this situation.
A neck specialist helps the victim handle injuries that affect the bottom of the head and top of the shoulders. Pain could be mild or severe, and sometimes, they limit the person's range of motion. Usually, neck specialists also handle certain head injuries related to the car accident.
When the car accident injury affects the spine, it's crucial to see a spine specialist. They handle issues with the entire spine and work a bigger area of the body. This includes back pain. Usually, the problems they deal with involve small sections of vertebrae or a single vertebra in the spine.
Types of Spine and Neck Injuries
While some treatments or injuries affect the neck more than the spine, it's crucial to realize that they're part of the same system. The neck only has seven vertebrae, so it's a smaller region. Then, the rest of the spine includes the lower and upper back. All three areas could have unique injuries and specific treatment options required.
Many crashes happen at high speeds, so even if the victim wore a seatbelt, the body still moves in an unnatural way on impact. Because of such a jarring movement, various muscles are strained. Whiplash injuries affect the ligaments and other tissues, which causes a lot of pain. Even though there aren't any broken bones, people are still sore for weeks or months after.
Symptoms to watch for include limited neck motion, neck stiffness or pain, and headaches. The pain may last for months or years if it isn't treated correctly. With that, the pain spreads to other areas.
The vertebrae can fracture in the accident, which causes bone fragments to scatter in the body. They could be small, but they cause many problems when the bone bits pinch nerves in various places. If this situation isn't treated quickly, the fractures could decrease blood flow into the spinal cord as the bone pieces press on it.
Overall, these are considered severe injuries that affect a person's quality of life and must be treated immediately for recovery to be possible.
The spine has many vertebrae within, and there can be various problems if one of them goes out of place. Occasionally, people are lucky and only have a single vertebra shift or pop out of place without excruciating pain.
However, most people feel extreme pain when the disc shifts and pinches nerves around the area. Treatment by a doctor is crucial here.
Other Injuries to Worry About
Though neck and spinal injuries are considered severe, the injury could involve internal bleeding, which can't be seen from the outside. This is why it's important to go to a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
With that, some people experience chronic pain for all of their lives because of the accident. In these cases, appropriate treatment is needed to help with a personal injury claim later.
What If the Primary Care Doctor Refuses to See the Victim after a Car Crash?
It's hard to know who to see after a car accident injury, especially if the victim's primary care doctor doesn't want to be part of the situation. The doctor's practice might not want to bill the insurance company or feel uncomfortable treating injuries when they might be called by an auto accident attorney to testify in court or provide a deposition.
If a doctor refuses to see the victim, that doesn't mean medical care isn't warranted or needed. There are a few options in this case:
If it's an urgent matter and the victim has no medical insurance, they may go to an urgent care center or emergency room. Though they pay out of pocket initially, they are reimbursed from the legal case. Sometimes, the lawyer can work out a deal where the physician used waits to be paid from the settlement.
Alternatively, the attorney may request that the doctors file a medical lien. If that happens, they have the assurance of being paid for treatments provided to the patient.
The Importance of Medical Care After a Car Accident
After an accident, the main goal is the health of the parties involved. It's crucial to get prompt medical care from a medical professional to determine if there are injuries and how to treat them for a quick recovery.
With that, the doctor may offer care instructions so that the victim doesn't make the injury worse. Finally, only a doctor can know if a person is injured or not. If the injury goes untreated, it might cause health problems later.
From a legal standpoint, it's crucial to get the right treatment plan after an accident because:
Medical records act as evidence in the injury case to define and outline the extent of the injuries. With that, the person's medical history is taken into account to help with diagnoses, causation opinions, and treatment recommendations.
The cost of medical care impacts the compensation the victim is eligible to get from the insurance company.
The defense could argue that the victim waited too long to get care, so the injuries weren't caused by the collision.
It's best to contact a personal injury lawyer to receive a free consultation about the case.
Speak with a Lawyer
Car accident victims are in severe pain and may have various symptoms. They must get the compensation they need from the at-fault party. Therefore, it's best to work with a law firm that handles personal injury cases. Receive a free consultation from The Keating Firm LTD. today.