Car Accidents are Inconvenient
Car accidents are inconvenient, especially if you were the impacted driver. Getting treated by EMS or riding in an ambulance is often seen as another major inconvenience. You may be in a rush to get wherever you were going before the accident. Even if a car accident does not immediately appear to be devastating or traumatic, it is important to ensure that you are not hurt.
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, EMS often arrive in an ambulance to assess possible injuries. Many clients report that they ‘felt fine’ at the time of the accident and declined EMS treatment at the scene because they weren’t experiencing any pain or symptoms.
However, your body may be producing a lot of adrenaline that is preventing you from feeling the true extent of your injuries, and some injuries do not present themselves right away. Many injuries first appear minor but can worsen over time or rapidly.
Let EMS check for Injuries
Even if you do not want to go to the emergency room, you should allow EMS to look over your body. Oftentimes, injuries that don’t involve broken bones (referred to as soft tissue injuries) can have a delayed onset of symptoms. This means that you might feel OK at the time of the crash. Yet, hours or days later, your injuries develop into much more serious symptoms requiring medical treatment. If you declined treatment at the accident scene, but then later need treatment, the insurance company is likely to view your lack of immediate treatment as proof that you were not injured.
Claim adjusters rely on a timeline of medical documentation to piece together and value a claimant’s injury. It is a common occurrence that a client tells me they denied EMS treatment at the scene. Rather they opt to ‘go home and see how they feel’. They usually find themselves in the ER or primary physician’s office a day or two later. At which time they have significant symptoms as a result of sprains, strains, contusions, or other soft tissue injuries and even sometimes fractures or more serious injuries such as bulging discs or herniations.
Insurance companies tend to undervalue soft tissue injuries
The insurance adjusters look for opportunities to minimize the severity of these claims. Since the symptoms dictate the severity level of soft tissue injuries and other injuries, thorough medical documentation is vital to compensation. X-rays MRI’s and CAT scans confirm demonstrable injuries such as broken bones and joint injuries. These are much more concrete in the eyes of an insurance company. The murky waters of soft tissue injuries require your attorney to paint a picture of your injuries, to justify the value of the claim. Proper and consistent medical care paints the strongest picture possible. If the documentation of your injury’s severity is not available, there is very little your attorney can do to increase the value.
HERE’S HOW TO AVOID THIS INSURANCE COMPANY TRAP:
- Following a crash, ask for EMS to check you immediately, even if you are unsure how you are feeling. They may find things that you are unaware of. Often times car accident victims’ injuries have a delayed onset of symptoms. It can be hard to know whether you sustained an injury in the accident until later. But at that time a gap in treatment has already occurred, which is best to avoid.
- If EMS does not treat you at the scene, immediately go to urgent care or a hospital to get checked out. Even if you are feeling ok, diagnostic tests are a safe way to ensure that you are not severely injured after a crash.
- Seek medical attention as soon as something starts to bother you. Tell the treating doctor everything that you are experiencing, even if it seems minor to you at the time. You never know when a dull ache in your shoulder is a torn ligament.