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Protecting Yourself and Your Claim After an Accident

doctor review a patient's X-rayAccidents happen all the time, and when they do it is easy to get caught off guard, especially if you are in shock. What do you do if it happens to you? 

Jay Trucks and Associates discusses how you can protect yourself after a car crash, including why putting off medical care may be a risky decision. 

When you are injured due to another’s negligence, seeking legal help can be an important part of your recovery. There is no cost or obligation for an initial consultation, and our experienced car accident lawyers in Grand Rapids are prepared to discuss what happened and help you determine your legal options.

Why Seek Medical Care Immediately

After an accident, seeking medical care immediately is critical. Even minor damage can mask a more serious injury.

 Why do people delay getting medical care after an accident? There are a few reasons, including:

  • Getting treated for injuries after an accident is expensive - This is true even when you have insurance. Cost is a major reason people often decide they should wait to see if anything gets worse.
  • Going to the emergency room is inconvenient - No one likes to “waste time” by sitting in the emergency room, but being examined by a medical team with the equipment and training to know what to look for after an accident can help you get the care you need.
  • Injuries may appear to be minor - In the first hours after an accident, you may not feel pain due to shock. Even if you do, you may think you have only minor bruising or a simple sprain and strain. However, injuries such as fractures, spinal cord damage and soft tissue injuries may not reveal the full amount of damage until later. 
  • Injuries may not be visible - Head trauma, damage to organs and internal bleeding may only be found during an X-ray or other diagnostic testing. These injuries can be serious, even life-threatening if left untreated.

Amid ongoing concerns about COVID-19, another reason people may avoid getting medical care is fear of getting the virus. However, several months into the pandemic, emergency rooms, hospitals and other medical clinics are more prepared and better-equipped. Additionally, you can call ahead to see whether you will need to wait in your car, or if they recommend going to another nearby hospital that may be less crowded. Seeking medical care immediately after an accident gives you an optimum chance for a full recovery.

Options for Seeking Medical Care Amid the Pandemic

 While delaying medical care after an accident is a bad idea, there are more options than ever before for seeking medical care.

The best options for medical care after an accident include:

  • Emergency room visit - We understand you may not feel comfortable going due to ongoing coronavirus spikes. However, it is still your best option if you were in a serious accident, or if you sustained a serious impact that could have caused head trauma, a spinal cord injury, fracture, deep lacerations or damaged internal organs. When in doubt, the ER will be best equipped to perform diagnostics and treatment for immediate medical care.
  • Urgent Care Clinics - While urgent care clinics may have a shorter waiting time and are less expensive overall, they are not a good substitute for the integrated care you can receive in the ER at a hospital. They are best used for getting immediate care for minor illnesses and injuries if your primary care physician is not available.
  • Telehealth - Many primary care physicians and insurance companies are offering telehealth options - especially during the pandemic. This can be a good initial option if your accident seemed minor and you may only have bruising or a sprain and strain. However, the caveat is that you must be sure to fully explain the accident to the doctor, including what parts of your body suffered an impact. For example, if you suffered a rear-end collision and hit your head on the steering wheel, it can help your doctor to more accurately diagnose your injuries and determine whether you need additional diagnostic tests, such as an X-ray or MRI.

How Ignoring the Legal Aspects Could Hurt Your Claim

If your injury was caused by someone else's negligent actions, not seeking medical care does more than put your health at risk. It can also damage any potential you may have for pursuing a legal claim. From the insurance company's perspective, if you did not seek medical care, you were likely not injured badly - or at least not as badly as you may claim. The other argument they may present is that you could have gotten injured somewhere else, and therefore, their policyholder has no liability at all.
 
This may seem less important in a no-fault state, like Michigan, especially if you still carry the unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, if you now carry a lesser option, you may max out your PIP limits pretty quickly. Additionally, if your injuries are severe enough - and you meet the state's injury threshold - you may want to apply for excess and non-economic damages. This will likely not be possible if you have no medical records confirming your injury - or medical records that are days or weeks following the initial date of the accident.
 
Alternatively, if you seek emergency care immediately following an accident, your medical records - which include your doctor's notes - will help to link your injuries to the accident. This credible documentation is a very important piece of evidence that can help support any legal claim you may decide to pursue.
 

Injured in a Car Accident? Call Our Firm for Legal Help

Even if you believe your injuries are minor, seeking immediate medical care can help protect your physical health as well as the value of your claim. Hiring the legal services of Jay Trucks and Associates means you also have a team of legal professionals on your side. We are ready to work hard to protect your best interests while fighting for the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf. Our firm has a long and proven history, recovering millions in compensation for our clients.

Call our law offices to schedule a consultation to speak with an attorney and learn more about your legal options. There is no cost or obligation for this meeting. If we take your case, there is nothing to pay us for representing you unless we first recover compensation for you.

Millions Recovered. No Upfront Costs. (800) 762-8623