What Should You Do If You Discover An Injury A Few Days After A Car Accident?
You've probably heard this advice before: always go to the hospital to get looked over after a car accident. However, everyone makes mistakes; you would not be the first person not to heed this advice because you felt just fine, only to realize days later that you were, indeed, injured during the accident. Filing an insurance claim for injury-related compensation is a lot more complicated when you did not seek immediate medical treatment, but it's not impossible. Follow these tips to increase your chances of compensation in this situation.
Go to the doctor right now.
Do not delay treatment any longer. Whether you have a minor ache that you think is due to the accident, or you're worried that a limb is broken, you need to start creating a paper trail related to your injuries immediately. If your primary care physician cannot fit you in within the next day or two, head to an urgent care facility.
When you do see the doctor, whether it's your regular doctor or a physician at an urgent care clinic, be sure to tell them that you were in a car accident. Tell them when the accident occurred, how you were hit, and how you felt afterwards. They should include this information in their report, along with their opinion as to whether your ailments truly were caused by the accidents. This testament from a doctor will serve as evidence later on if the insurance company does not immediately approve your claim.
Contact a car accident attorney.
You're almost certain to meet up with some resistance if you file a claim through the other driver's insurance company right now. The company will likely argue that since you did not seek treatment right away after the accident, there's no proof that your injuries are related to the accident and not to another incident that happened in the days that followed.
Working with an auto accident attorney from the get-go will ensure that your claim is worded properly and that all necessary evidence is included. If you do not have enough evidence to prove your injury was caused by the accident, your attorney will guide you in gathering that evidence. For instance, he or she may seek out physicians to testify that your injuries are consistent with someone who was hit in the manner you were, or that it's normal for symptoms of your injury not to appear immediately after a crash.
Don't talk to the other driver.
Hopefully you collected the other driver's information after the crash. While this information is handy to give to your attorney, you should by no means contact the other driver directly. If the insurance company denies your claim and your attorney has to file a lawsuit, statements you make to the other driver could be held against you. For instance, if you say "I'm sorry to contact you about this," that could be taken as an admission of guilt for the accident or for your own injuries. Let your attorney handle all communication between yourself, the other driver, and their insurance company.
Follow doctors' orders.
This advice really applies any time you're in an accident that requires you to file an injury claim. However, it's even more important to follow this tip when you've delayed medical treatment and will therefore be more closely scrutinized by the insurance company. If your doctor says to change your bandage three times per day, do so. If they refer you to a specialist, make the appointment. Take any and all medications exactly as directed. You would not want the insurance company or judge to argue that you made the injury worse by disobeying medical orders and are therefore liable for your own costs.
It is possible to recover damages for injuries that you did not immediately notice after an accident, but do be prepared for this to be an uphill battle. Working with an experienced attorney is really the best thing you can do for yourself in this situation.