THINK YOU DON’T NEED A DOCTOR AFTER BEING HIT BY A CAR? THINK AGAIN!
As a pedestrian, you’ve just been in a car accident. You’re shaken up, but feel lucky to have escaped serious injury, and your first instinct is to minimize the situation. But, even if you believe you’re OK, get yourself to a doctor as soon as possible, dmv.org cautions. There are two very important reasons for that recommendation:
- The longer you wait to seek medical care after the accident, the harder it will be to prove that any injuries you have were actually caused by the accident.
- Symptoms of a serious injury may not become apparent immediately, and you‘re putting your own health at higher risk the longer you go without seeing a doctor.
In addition to the mental trauma and emotional disorientation that follows any auto accident experience, Dr. Alex Bigham, D.C. points out, “sometimes vehicle accidents cause physical damage that’s hard to notice amidst immediate distractions.” Even serious physical issues might not present any signs for several days, he cautions. Some delayed injury symptoms that might result from a car crash include:
- Headaches, which can develop days after the accidents, can be signals of a potentially serious problem, such as a blood clot on the brain, injury to the neck or head, or concussion.
- Back pain that appears after an accident could be caused by injury to the muscles, ligaments, or nerves in the back, or even damage to the vertebrae.
- Abdominal pain and swelling, areas of deep purple bruising, dizziness, and fainting are signs which could indicate internal bleeding. Internal bleeding, which can remain undiscovered for hours or days, can be life-threatening and needs to be treated by trained emergency medical personnel.
- Numbness or loss of feeling in the arms and hands (also called whiplash-associated disorder) results from damage to the neck or spinal column.
- Traumatic brain injury resulting from a concussion might be signaled by impaired thinking or memory, vision and hearing problems, or personality changes and depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury.
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is common after a vehicle accident. Victims, particularly children, may have vivid and disturbing memories of the event and suffer from nightmares and flashbacks.
If you have medical insurance, that is probably the first place you would turn to pay for those medical bills. It will then be up to the medical insurance company to collect reimbursement from the driver’s auto insurance. If you were working at the time of the accident, a worker’s compensation insurance carrier may be involved as well.
When you are treated by a medical professional, there is an exact price tag associated with each visit and each treatment. After you’ve been injured by a vehicle, though, where things get trickier is estimating the cost of the future medical and rehabilitation care you might need for years to come. As personal injury attorneys in Indiana, for example, we at Ramey & Hailey Law will look at several factors, including:
- The number of days you had to (or are still having to) miss work because of the accident
- Psychological damage you suffered (perhaps because of post-traumatic stress syndrome, or because your appearance was marred, or your relations with a spouse were affected)
- Whether you might be considered to share at least some responsibility for what happened to you
After being hit by a vehicle, you may feel ready to get right back to life the way it was before the incident. You have no desire to spend time talking with doctors, insurance agents, and lawyers. But the truth is, rushing to “put things back together” could prove to be a costly mistake. Consider your own long term physical and financial wellbeing. Think again.