When Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

If you were recently involved in a car accident, you may be wondering, “How long do I have to see a doctor after the crash?” This is a good question indeed because if you wait too long, it could negatively affect your insurance claim.

Suppose you were in an accident and you waited a couple of weeks to receive medical treatment. This would not be wise. Why? Because, if you let too much time elapse before you receive medical treatment, it sends the wrong message to the insurance company. It makes it look like you weren’t injured bad enough to see a doctor, let alone receive compensation from the insurance company for medical bills and pain and suffering.

So, if you’re ever involved in an auto accident, medical treatment is NOT something that you want to put off, even if you’re busy or trying not to increase the cost of your claim. What really matters is your health and well-being; you don’t owe the insurance company or the at-fault driver any favors!

Car Accidents are High-Stress Events

By their nature, car accidents are high-stress events. When you’re in a car wreck, your heart begins to race, and your body produces adrenaline, otherwise known as the hormone epinephrine, which is responsible for your body’s fight-or-flight response. Within minutes of being in a car crash, your body is flooded with adrenaline, which decreases your body’s ability to feel pain.

While the fight-or-flight response comes in handy during life-threatening events; for example, while you’re being assaulted or when you’re running out of a burning building, it can be counterproductive in a car crash. You may walk away from the car wreck “feeling fine,” but in reality, you’re injured; you just can’t feel it yet because your body is flooded with adrenaline.

For some people, it can take hours or even days for the adrenaline to wear off and for the pain to set in. When you’re initially speaking to the insurance company, refrain from making statements, such as, “I wasn’t hurt,” or “I’m completely fine” because this may NOT be the case. You could have injuries that have been masked by the adrenaline, which are bound to surface as soon as the adrenaline subsides.

When should you get medical treatment after an accident? You should see a doctor or chiropractor no later than 72 hours from the crash. If you delay medical treatment, the insurance company can use that against you to unfairly reduce the value of your claim, or to deny a settlement outright.

If you can’t get in to see your primary care physician because they don’t have any openings available, you can walk into an Urgent Care clinic or visit your local emergency room. Just be sure to keep all of your medical records as these will strengthen your claim.

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