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How to Talk About Your Car Crash Injuries With a Doctor

young female patient talking to nurseCar crashes can cause serious injuries, both internal and those you can easily see. Regardless of whether you have any visible wounds, however, it is important to seek medical care right away. What you tell your doctor can give him or her insight as to how badly you may be hurt. When there are serious injuries, minutes often matter. The sooner you get the treatment you need, the better your chance for making a full recovery.

Our Flint car crash attorneys at Jay Trucks explain how to talk with the treating doctor after a car crash, and what details are most beneficial for helping you get the care you need faster.

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At The Accident Scene

While at the accident scene, if an EMT examines you and determines you need to be transported to a nearby hospital or emergency room, it is a good idea to do so, for a couple of reasons:

  • EMTs see a lot of crash victims and are trained to recognize injury symptoms.
  • The shock after a crash can mask pain, so a full examination is in your best interest.
  • Serious injuries, such as internal bleeding, left untreated, could jeopardize your health.
  • No examination also means no medical records to link your injuries to the accident.

Discussing Your Injuries With ER Staff and Your Treating Physician

Whether or not you are examined at the crash scene, do not delay getting a full medical examination afterward. Once at the hospital, it is critical to tell the ER staff about the collision, your visible injuries and any other symptoms you are having.

Describe the Crash

Describing the crash can give your doctor more insight into your potential injuries. That said, do not ramble on with details you are unsure of, such as the speed of the car that hit yours. That can backfire later and maybe even damage your claim. What you discuss with the doctor will be documented in your medical records. Details that can help your doctor help you include:

  • Age, size and model of your vehicle (i.e. smaller cars give less protection in a crash)
  • The type of collision you had (head-on, rear-end, etc.)
  • Where your vehicle sustained damage
  • Whether you were wearing your seatbelt
  • Were you thrown about inside the car or ejected?
  • Did a part of your body hit something inside the car?
  • Did something inside the car hit your body, your head, or your eyes?
  • Was your neck thrown backward and forward during the impact?

Discuss Your Symptoms

No matter how unimportant a symptom may seem to you, it could tell your doctor something about where you may be hurt. Do not leave details out because you told some other ER personnel either. ER staff are busy, and it is likely that much of what you said to them did not get communicated to the doctor.

Describe where you are hurting, the type of pain you are having, and how bad it is.

Here are some examples of describing symptoms in a way that is both helpful and specific:

  • I have a throbbing headache over my temples
  • It hurts when I look around or move my eyes
  • I feel dizzy, nauseous and the room is spinning
  • I have thrown up a couple of times since the accident

The information you provide may help the doctor to obtain more relevant tests and diagnose you faster.

Other Important Details to Include

In addition to discussing the symptoms and injuries from the present crash, you should mention facts about your medical history that could be important, such as:

  • Prescription medications: Let the doctor know what you are taking, why, and how long you have been on them.
  • Preexisting injuries: Tell your doctor about a preexisting injury so he or she can determine if it was made worse by the crash.
  • Chronic medical conditions: Certain conditions, such as arthritis, may change the level of care you receive or make it more likely that your condition was affected by the accident.

Patients may often neglect to tell their doctor about these things. However, leaving this information out could prevent you from getting the treatment that you need.

If you are worried about how a preexisting injury or condition could affect an injury claim, you should discuss your concerns with an attorney. He or she can limit what the other side sees and will determine the best way to release this information while protecting your claim.

Ongoing Care During Your Recovery

After your initial medical examination, it is critical that you continue to follow-up with your doctor. This means that if your doctor recommended follow-up visits, physical therapy, further testing or even emotional counseling, be sure to stick to that plan of care. Here are some other quick, but critical tips for moving forward with your recovery:

  • Do not miss your appointments or show up late. Doing so can damage your credibility and any claim for compensation beyond what your no-fault benefits provide.
  • Organize and save all the medical bills, gas receipts, prescription costs and other documentation that is relevant to your accident and resulting injuries
  • Keep an injury journal to document your daily progress and recovery – it can later provide evidence of how your life has been impacted by your injuries
  • Contact your treating physician immediately if you experience any new symptoms or side effects (if you were prescribed medication)
  • Most of all, when discussing your injuries with your doctor, never downplay your symptoms – or exaggerate them. That is a bad idea and one that always backfires.

Need Legal Help After a Car Crash? Call Our Trusted Law Firm Today

At Jay Trucks, we are prepared to discuss your situation and determine your potential legal options following the traffic accident that caused your injuries.

Find out if you have a case for free, and with no obligation. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs. We do not collect payment until or unless we recover compensation for you.

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