What Is The Best Medical Treatment To Get After a Car Crash?

by | Mar 3, 2024

From minor fender-benders to serious collisions, seeking medical treatment after a car crash can help to ensure both your immediate well-being and long-term recovery. However, navigating the many types of medical options can be confusing and intimidating for many accident victims and their families. With various factors to consider, from the severity of injuries to insurance coverage, if you are injured it’s very important to not only know – but also understand – your options, to help you make informed decisions about your post-accident medical care.

Whether you’ve experienced whiplash, broken bones, or other injuries, understanding your medical choices can make a significant difference in your recovery journey. In this guide, we’ll explore the best medical treatments to obtain after a car accident, covering everything from immediate care at the scene to ongoing rehabilitation and more.

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Is Getting Immediate Medical Treatment After a Crash Important?

Yes. Obtaining immediate medical treatment after a crash is very important. Reasons why include:

  • Early Detection of Injuries: Some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, may not begin to show symptoms immediately. Seeking medical attention promptly allows healthcare professionals to conduct thorough examinations and detect injuries early, preventing potential complications.
  • Preventing Delayed Onset of Symptoms: Adrenaline and shock from the accident may mask pain or symptoms initially. However, these symptoms can surface later, leading to delayed treatment and potentially worsening conditions.
  • Documenting Injuries: Seeking medical treatment immediately creates a documented record of your injuries and their severity. This documentation is crucial for insurance claims and should you wish to pursue a damages claim at some point in the future – legal proceedings, as it provides evidence of the accident’s impact on your health and that it is/was serious enough for you to seek medical care.
  • Avoiding Legal Complications: Delaying medical treatment can raise doubts about the severity of your injuries or whether they were caused by the accident. Insurance companies and legal representatives may use this delay to dispute claims or reduce compensation. Seeking immediate medical care strengthens your case and protects your rights.
  • Starting the Recovery Process: Early medical intervention can expedite the recovery process by initiating appropriate treatment and rehabilitation plans. Whether it’s physical therapy, medication, or surgical intervention, starting treatment promptly can lead to better outcomes and faster recovery times.

Seeking immediate medical treatment after a crash is very important for diagnosing injuries, preventing delayed symptoms, documenting injuries, avoiding legal complications, and starting the recovery process.

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Should I Take an Ambulance From The Location of The Crash – Even If I’m Not Hurt?

It depends. If you’re involved in a car crash, following are some points to consider:

  • Assess Your Condition: First and foremost, assess your condition. Even if you feel fine initially, adrenaline and shock from the accident can mask symptoms of injuries. Check yourself for any signs of pain, discomfort, or unusual sensations.
  • Err on the Side of Caution: It’s generally advisable to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. If you’re unsure about your condition or if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort, it’s better to agree to the ambulance ride and seek medical attention promptly. Injuries, such as whiplash or internal trauma, may not be immediately apparent but can worsen without proper treatment.
  • Medical Evaluation: Taking an ambulance allows you to receive a thorough medical evaluation by trained professionals. Paramedics can assess your condition, provide immediate care if needed, and transport you to the nearest medical facility for further evaluation.
  • Documentation: Accepting ambulance transportation creates a documented record of the incident and your decision to seek medical attention. This documentation can be valuable for insurance claims or legal proceedings if complications arise later.
  • Insurance Coverage: In many cases, ambulance transportation is covered by insurance policies, so cost should not be a primary concern. Your health and well-being should take precedence over financial considerations.

Ultimately, it is your decision however, if there’s any doubt about your condition or if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort, it’s wise to accept the offer of ambulance transportation after a crash has occurred.

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If I Go To A Hospital After a Crash, Who Pays?

It depends. If you go to a hospital after a crash, who pays for your medical expenses depends on various factors:

  • Health Insurance: If you have health insurance coverage, your insurer will typically cover a portion of your medical expenses related to the crash. However, the extent of coverage may vary depending on your insurance plan, deductibles, and copayments.
  • Auto Insurance: If you’re injured in a car accident, your auto insurance policy may include personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments coverage (MedPay). These coverages can help pay for your medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
  • The Other Party’s Insurance: If another driver was at fault for the accident, their auto insurance policy may be responsible for covering your medical expenses. You may need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for your medical bills.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Depending on your insurance coverage and the circumstances of the accident, you may be responsible for paying certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, copayments, or expenses that exceed your policy limits.
  • Legal Options: If you’re unable to recover sufficient compensation from insurance coverage or if the other party disputes liability, you may consider seeking legal recourse. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process and pursue compensation for your medical expenses through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Regardless, it is important to keep detailed records of your medical expenses, including bills, receipts, and documentation of treatment received.

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What Type of Doctor Should I See After a Car Crash?

Following are some types of doctors that you may need to be examined by after a car crash:

  • Emergency Room Physician: If you sustain serious injuries or are experiencing severe pain or symptoms after a car crash, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention from an emergency room physician. Emergency room doctors are trained to assess and stabilize patients with traumatic injuries.
  • Primary Care Physician (PCP): Your primary care physician can provide comprehensive medical care, including evaluating and treating injuries sustained in a car crash. They can assess your overall health, address any immediate concerns, and refer you to specialists if necessary.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon: If you have musculoskeletal injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, or soft tissue injuries, an orthopedic surgeon specializes in diagnosing and treating these conditions. They can provide surgical and non-surgical interventions to help you recover from orthopedic injuries.
  • Neurologist: If you experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or numbness after a car crash, a neurologist specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system. They can evaluate your symptoms and perform tests to identify any neurological issues.
  • Chiropractor: Chiropractors focus on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly spinal misalignments. If you experience neck or back pain after a car crash, a chiropractor may use manual adjustments or other therapies to alleviate your symptoms.
  • Physical Therapist: Physical therapists specialize in rehabilitation and can help you recover from injuries sustained in a car crash. They can design personalized exercise programs to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion, and reduce pain.
  • Pain Management Specialist: If you suffer from chronic pain or require ongoing pain management after a car crash, a pain management specialist can help. They specialize in diagnosing and treating pain conditions and may use a variety of interventions, such as medications, injections, or alternative therapies.

Ultimately, the type of doctor you should see after a car crash depends on the nature and severity of your injuries.

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Will I Need to Get Physical Therapy To Recover From An Auto Accident Injury?

It really depends on the nature and extent of your injury. If you are experiencing pain, stiffness &/or inflammation, a limited range of motion or decreased strength after a car crash, you may like to consider booking an appointment with a physical therapist. They can help with:

  • Pain Management: Physical therapy can be effective in managing pain associated with car crash injuries. Therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques, and modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation can help alleviate pain and improve function.
  • Functional Restoration: Physical therapy aims to restore your ability to perform daily activities and tasks. If your injuries have impacted your ability to work, drive, or engage in recreational activities, physical therapy can help you regain function and independence.
  • Preventing Complications: Without proper rehabilitation, car crash injuries can lead to long-term complications such as muscle weakness, stiffness, or chronic pain. Physical therapy can address these issues early on, reducing the risk of long-term disability and improving overall outcomes.
  • An Individualized Treatment Plan: A physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation to assess your specific needs and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your injuries and goals. This may include a combination of exercises, manual therapy, education, and modalities to optimize your recovery.
  • Insurance Coverage: Many auto insurance policies cover physical therapy as part of medical benefits for car crash injuries. Your healthcare provider can help you navigate insurance coverage and referral processes to access physical therapy services.

While not everyone will require physical therapy after a car crash, it can be a valuable component of rehabilitation for many individuals.

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After a Car Crash, Does The Insurance Company Determine The Doctor I Use?

No. After a car crash, the insurance company typically does not determine the specific doctor you use for medical treatment. However, there are a few important points to consider:

  • Choice of Healthcare Provider: In most cases, you have the freedom to choose your healthcare provider, including doctors, specialists, and therapists, for treatment related to injuries sustained in a car crash.
  • Network Providers: If you have health insurance coverage, your insurance provider may have a network of preferred healthcare providers. While you’re generally not obligated to use network providers, choosing an in-network provider may result in lower out-of-pocket costs.
  • Referrals: Depending on your insurance plan or the severity of your injuries, you may need a referral from a primary care physician to see certain specialists or receive specific treatments. However, this referral process typically involves you and your healthcare provider, not the insurance company directly.
  • Medical Billing and Coverage: The insurance company will review and process medical bills submitted by your healthcare providers according to the terms of your insurance policy. They may negotiate rates with providers and determine coverage based on the terms of your policy, but they do not dictate which doctor you see.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): If you’re making a claim through your auto insurance policy’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, you may be required to seek initial medical treatment from a provider within a specified network or approved by your insurance company. However, this requirement typically applies only to the initial treatment and not ongoing care.

While the insurance company may play a role in processing medical bills and determining coverage, they generally do not dictate the specific doctor you see for treatment after a car crash. You have the right to choose your healthcare provider based on your individual needs and preferences.

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Does Getting Medical Treatment After A Crash Can Have An Impact on a Compensation Lawsuit?

Yes. Some reasons include:

  • Documentation of Injuries: Seeking prompt medical treatment after a crash provides documentation of your injuries. Medical records, diagnostic tests, and treatment plans serve as crucial evidence in proving the extent and severity of your injuries to support your compensation claim.
  • Establishing Causation: Medical treatment helps establish a causal link between the crash and your injuries. To be clear, a in the context of a lawsuit, a causal link refers to the direct connection between an event (such as a car crash) and its consequences (such as injuries). It’s the relationship that demonstrates how the event caused or contributed to the resulting harm or damages. Healthcare professionals can evaluate your condition, diagnose injuries, and attribute them to the specific incident, strengthening your case for compensation.
  • Mitigating Damages: Failure to seek timely medical treatment can be interpreted as negligence and may jeopardize your ability to recover full compensation. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may argue that your injuries would have been less severe if you had sought medical attention promptly, potentially reducing the amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive.
  • Consistent Medical Care: Consistently following through with recommended medical treatment demonstrates that you’re actively seeking to recover from your injuries. It also helps prevent the defense from arguing that you failed to mitigate your damages by neglecting medical advice or abandoning treatment prematurely.
  • Expert Testimony: Healthcare providers may serve as expert witnesses in your case, providing testimony regarding your injuries, treatment, and prognosis. Their professional opinions carry weight in court and can support your claim for compensation.
  • Quantifying Damages: Medical bills, treatment costs, and related expenses form the basis for quantifying economic damages in your lawsuit. By documenting your medical expenses, you can accurately calculate the financial losses incurred due to the crash and seek appropriate compensation.

While not only important for your health, obtaining medical treatment after a collision can be beneficial for a potential compensation lawsuit. It helps establish the extent and severity of your injuries, establishes causation, mitigates damages, and provides essential evidence to support your claim for compensation.

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Are Doctors Involved In Auto Accident Lawsuits?

Yes. Doctors can be involved in auto accident lawsuits, but typically not as defendants. Instead, they are often involved as expert witnesses or medical consultants to provide professional opinions and testimony regarding the injuries sustained by the parties involved in the accident.

In the context of an auto accident, some areas doctors may be involved include:

  • Expert Witnesses: Attorneys may enlist the expertise of doctors to serve as expert witnesses in auto accident cases. These doctors can provide testimony regarding the nature and extent of injuries, causation, prognosis, and the medical treatment required. Their testimony helps the court understand the medical aspects of the case and can influence the outcome of the lawsuit.
  • Medical Records Review: Doctors may be asked to review medical records related to the injuries sustained in the accident. They can provide opinions on the severity of injuries, the likelihood of permanent impairment, and the necessity and adequacy of medical treatment received by the injured party.
  • Independent Medical Examinations (IME): In some cases, a defendant’s attorney may request an independent medical examination of the plaintiff by a doctor of their choosing. The purpose of the IME is to obtain an impartial medical opinion on the plaintiff’s injuries and their relationship to the accident.
  • Consultation: Attorneys representing both plaintiffs and defendants may consult with doctors to better understand medical issues relevant to the case, evaluate medical evidence, and develop legal strategies.

Commonly, doctors contribute their professional knowledge to assist the court in making informed decisions regarding the injuries and damages resulting from the accident.

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What Are The Most Common Surgeries For Auto Accident Victims?

Surgeries for auto accident victims can vary greatly depending on the types and severity of injuries sustained in the crash. Some may include:

  • Orthopedic Surgeries: These surgeries address injuries to the bones, joints, and soft tissues. Common orthopedic procedures for auto accident victims include fracture repair, joint stabilization (such as knee or shoulder arthroscopy), spinal fusion for vertebral fractures or spinal cord injuries, and surgical repair of ligament or tendon tears.
  • Neurosurgical Procedures: Victims of severe auto accidents may require neurosurgical intervention to address injuries to the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves. Surgeries may include decompressive procedures to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or brain, spinal fusion for stabilization, or surgery to repair traumatic brain injuries.
  • Trauma Surgery: In cases of severe trauma, auto accident victims may require emergency surgery to address life-threatening injuries. These surgeries may involve the abdomen (such as exploratory laparotomy for internal organ injuries), chest (such as thoracotomy for lung or heart injuries), or other critical areas affected by the accident. Vehicle occupants involved in head on, t-bone and rollover accidents may be exposed to the types of injuries that require trauma surgery.
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Victims of auto accidents may undergo reconstructive surgery to repair facial injuries, burns, or disfigurements resulting from the crash. Procedures may include skin grafts, scar revision, or cosmetic surgery to restore appearance and function. Occupants involved in frontal collisions – where they may collide with a steering wheel, dashboard or have an airbag deploy – may require this type of procedure.
  • Vascular Surgery: Injuries to blood vessels, such as arterial tears or vascular occlusions, may require vascular surgery to repair or bypass damaged vessels and restore blood flow to affected areas of the body. Penetrating-types of injuries can require this type of surgery. An example of a penetrating injury is broken glass, metal fragments or external objects that may cut or sever an artery or vein.
  • Internal Organ Surgery: Severe auto accidents can result in injuries to internal organs such as the liver, spleen, or kidneys. Surgical intervention may be necessary to repair or remove damaged organs and prevent life-threatening complications.

Ultimately, treatment plans are tailored to each patient’s unique needs and may involve a combination of surgical and non-surgical interventions to achieve the best possible outcomes.

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What Is The Fastest Way to Recover From a Car Crash Injury?

While recovery timelines can vary depending on the severity of the injury, adherence to certain practices can expedite the healing process. Following are some essential steps to facilitate a speedy recovery:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Attention: After a car crash, it’s crucial to seek prompt medical evaluation, even if injuries seem minor. Immediate medical assessment can identify hidden injuries, initiate appropriate treatment, and prevent complications. Delaying medical care can prolong recovery time and exacerbate injuries.
  • Follow Treatment Recommendations: Upon receiving a diagnosis, follow your healthcare provider’s treatment recommendations diligently. This may include medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, or surgical interventions, depending on the nature and severity of your injuries. Adhering to prescribed treatments can optimize healing and expedite recovery.
  • Rest and Recovery: Allow your body adequate time to rest and recuperate following a car crash. Avoid strenuous activities or movements that exacerbate pain or discomfort. Adequate rest promotes tissue healing, reduces inflammation, and prevents further injury.
  • Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation: Participate in physical therapy and rehabilitation programs as recommended by your healthcare provider. These programs focus on restoring mobility, strength, flexibility, and function, aiding in the recovery process. Consistent participation in rehabilitation exercises can accelerate recovery and improve overall outcomes.
  • Nutrition and Hydration: Maintain a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients to support tissue repair and healing. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, as proper hydration is vital for optimal bodily functions and recovery from injuries.
  • Pain Management: Manage pain and discomfort effectively with prescribed medications, physical modalities, or alternative pain management techniques. Addressing pain promptly can enhance comfort, improve mobility, and facilitate active participation in recovery activities.
  • Follow-Up Care: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor progress, adjust treatment plans as needed, and address any concerns or complications promptly. Consistent follow-up care ensures continuity of care and promotes optimal recovery outcomes.
  • Psychological Support: Seek psychological support if you experience emotional distress or trauma following a car crash. Counseling, therapy, or support groups can help you cope with psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), facilitating overall recovery and well-being.
  • Avoid Risky Behaviors: Refrain from activities or behaviors that may impede your recovery or exacerbate injuries. This includes avoiding alcohol and drugs, adhering to activity restrictions, and following safety precautions to prevent re-injury.

By following these steps and actively participating in your recovery process, you can expedite healing, minimize complications, and optimize your chances of returning to pre-crash function and activity levels as quickly as possible.

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Should I Contact an Injury Lawyer Before or After I Get Treatment For A Car Crash Injury?

Your health and well-being should be the primary concern, and receiving timely medical attention is important for diagnosing and addressing any injuries sustained in the accident. AFTER you have addressed any possible health concerns, it is advisable to reach out to a Chicago car accident lawyer near you to learn more about the legal options that may be available to you after the crash.

At Injury Law Support, we have a network of vetted accident lawyers throughout the United States and our team have been helping to connect accident victims with reputable, local lawyers since 2009. If you would like a lawyer to review your claim and help determine if you have a case, fill out our “Free Case Review” form today. These are no upfront fees and your information will be sent securely to a local lawyer in your area. That law firm will contact you for a free conversation to help determine if they can help. There is no obligation to sign up with the law firm if you do have a case and they are ready to help you today.

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