Five Tips for Talking to Your Doctor After an Accident
Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2022 at 2:49 pm
So, you’ve been in a car accident. The paramedics on the scene said you didn’t need to be transported to the emergency room, but you really should see your doctor. You went home, took some over-the-counter painkillers, and went to bed. The next day, you felt okay, so you went to work. Do you really need to see a doctor just because you were in a car accident?
Yes, you really do. There are important reasons to see a doctor and things you should ask once you get there. Even if you feel fine after a minor fender bender in the parking lot, you should make a trip to the doctor and get a medical record started.
Some Injuries Develop Slowly
When you visit your doctor, explain that you were in a car accident, where you were sitting (whether you were a passenger or the driver), if you were wearing a seat belt, and any other important details. Some types of injuries, like spinal cord injuries, back pain, closed head trauma, and even some organ damage, may take several days or weeks to fully appear.
This is because the damage is caused less by the accident itself than by the aftereffects, as your body’s tissues swell and become inflamed. Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce this inflammation or tell you to rest and avoid exertion to let the injury heal.
Keep a Record of Your Symptoms
If you go to the emergency room and are given instructions to follow up with your own doctor in a week, which is common, you should keep track of any changes in your condition during that time. You should be able to explain to your doctor anything that is different between the time of the accident and the day the doctor next sees you.
This helps establish a timeline for any injury caused by the accident. For instance, if you hit your head, and the ER doctor found nothing serious, but during the next week, you began having headaches, your own doctor would be on the alert for closed head trauma such as a concussion.
Take Any Insurance-Related Paperwork to Your Doctor
Most insurance companies require you to notify them within 72 hours of an accident, whether you plan to file a claim or not. Some companies expect you to see a doctor within 72 hours, on the theory that if you are injured, you should have noticed it within that period. Realistically, it may not be possible to see your doctor in such a short period of time, but you should try to get an appointment.
When you do go, take any documentation that your insurance company requires the doctor to sign or complete. If possible, have the doctor sign it that day and take it away with you. Doctors and their staff get busy, and waiting for the doctor’s signature can slow your claim down. If you do have pressing questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
People are sometimes too intimidated to ask their doctor questions about their health. Never be afraid to ask specific questions about your accident. Eventually, you will need these answers, so be brave and ask them. You need to know:
- How serious is this injury? Could it get worse over time?
- Can I return to work? How soon? Will there be an impact on my work performance?
- Is there anything I should look for in the upcoming days or weeks? What specifically?
- Do I need any follow-up treatment?
Make sure you understand everything before you leave. Remember, the compensation for your insurance claim will be determined by how much the injury costs, and once the claim is settled, you can’t ask for more, even if your injury ends up being more expensive.
Keep Copies of Everything
Whatever the doctor gives you, make a copy and keep it in a separate file. Bills, receipts for payment, orders for therapy, or referrals. Your insurance company may need some of these items, but if your case ever goes to court, your attorney will need copies as well. You can save time by making copies in advance and keeping them separate from your other documents.
We Can Help
If you have been injured in a car accident or other serious accident, you probably have questions about the best way to proceed. At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we can help you with your insurance claim and any legal matters arising from the accident. If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligent or careless behavior, you should get the compensation you deserve. Call us at (770) 205-8827, or contact us online and let us review the details of your accident. No matter what the circumstances, we are here to help.