Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you’re well aware of the seemingly eternal headache that is the aftermath. You worry about damage to your car, time missed off work, how much all of it is going to cost you, and whether your insurance rate will go up. To add insult to injury, there’s also the looming threat of litigation. Nobody really wants to have to deal with it, but it’s sometimes necessary. So if you’re feeling relatively well, you may be thinking it may make it easier to just skip going to the doctor. After all, if you have no visible injuries and aren’t experiencing any real pain, what’s the point?

Why You Should See a Doctor After a Car Accident

Whenever a person is involved in a high-stress situation — such as a car accident — their body releases adrenaline. This hormone is helpful because it makes you more alert and causes you to act on instinct. However, it also temporarily numbs the pain. Therefore, you may not even notice that you’re hurt until some time has passed.

In addition, while cuts and bruises are clearly visible, internal injuries may take longer to manifest. This may include anything from internal bleeding or cuts to organ damage. And, even if you don’t experience any new internal injuries from the accident, the impact could also aggravate pre-existing injuries. For example, if you already had herniated discs from your work duties, carrying your kids, or working out, the force from the accident could’ve caused them to slip out even further, making nerve damage more likely. All of these scenarios can start out with you feeling well, but can quickly snowball into serious injuries — and costly medical services.

Now, a part of you may want to wait it out to see if you remain feeling well — or if minor pains and aches go away on their own. While this is understandable (especially when considering how scheduling a doctor’s appointment may be disruptive to your workday), it’s important to keep in mind that waiting could bar you from filing certain types of claims. Florida law states that in order to receive personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, you are required to file your claim within 14 days from the date of the accident. Waiting longer can impact your case financially, as well as provide the other driver to claim that any injuries you claim weeks or months down the road were probably caused by something else.

Delayed Symptoms After a Car Accident

Several injuries are common results of car accidents, yet it may take a while for symptoms to develop. The most common ones include:

  • Whiplash: This type of injury is more common in cases where a person was rear-ended while their car was fully stopped. The impact causes the head to move back and forth too quickly, injuring the small bones and soft tissue of the neck bones. Several days after the accident, you may feel like your neck hurts when you move your head from side to side — enough to limit your range of motion. It’s also possible to experience headaches.
  • TMJ Injuries: TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint — the joint that connects the jaw to the head. Several days after the accident, you may feel pain or a clicking sound around your jaw when chewing or yawning. It’s also common for this type of injury to cause the jaw pain to radiate towards the ears. The symptoms can get severe enough that you may try to limit eating and speaking in attempts to diminish the pain.
  • Internal Bleeding: If your organs or blood vessels are injured, they can start bleeding without you noticing anything at first. As time goes by, you may start feeling lightheaded and/or significantly more tired than usual. If this is the case, and you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, seek medical care immediately, as failing to do so could result in death.
  • Emotional Distress: Mental anguish after a car accident can manifest weeks or months after the incident. It manifests as anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, fear of getting into a car or driving, and/or depression. In some cases, the distress can be severe enough to constitute post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Call Clark Hartpence Law If You’ve Been in a Car Accident in Tampa Bay

If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Hartpence Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best next step.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.