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When Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

The United States is no stranger to car accidents. In 2015 alone, our great nation lost over 35,000 lives to auto accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of course, that figure doesn’t take into account the 2.44 million people who were injured in crashes, per the NHTSA’s 2015 statistics.

If you’ve been in at least one crash so far, you’re not alone. The chances of being involved in at least one car accident in your lifetime are high. If you’ve never been in a car accident before, that’s great – you’ve managed to beat the odds thus far. Even if you’ve been crash-free, you must remember that there are a lot of distracted and drunk drivers on the roads. You can be the best driver in the world, but a negligent driver can still plow into your vehicle.

Medical Care After a Crash

In case you are ever in a car accident, you’re going to have to address the issue of medical care. If you don’t feel hurt, does that mean you can forgo seeing a doctor? Generally, no. You should definitely be seen by a doctor after a crash, and below we’ll explain why.

When people are involved in car accidents, they’re often flooded with a rush of adrenaline, which is also known as the hormone epinephrine. What does adrenaline do? It kicks the flight or fight response into high gear and it masks pain. In fact, adrenaline is one of the key reasons why people flee the scene of an accident (make sure you never do this).

Surely, adrenaline has its time and place. If your jeep stalls in Africa, you need to be able to outrun a lion, though that’s nearly impossible. When you need to rescue a baby from a burning building, adrenaline comes in very handy. In other words, adrenaline is meant to protect us in dangerous situations, but our body doesn’t realize that a car crash isn’t the same as running from a Grizzly bear in Alaska.

Here’s the problem: After a crash, the adrenaline kicks in and it can make you feel zero pain. Your back could be broken, or you can have a fractured rib, but you may not feel it. It can take hours, if not days for the effects of the adrenaline to wear off. If you don’t feel pain, you may not seek medical attention and that can complicate your claim.

Why You Need to See a Doctor

After a car accident, you should always see a doctor. If you don’t, or if you wait weeks, then it makes it appear as if you’re perfectly fine, and you know what? You can count on the insurance company using that delay as an excuse to reduce your settlement or deny your claim altogether. So, when should you see a doctor? Don’t wait more than 72 hours from the crash and of course, the sooner the better.

If you can’t get in to see your primary care physician, then by all means, visit an emergency room or go to an Urgent Care clinic. Just be sure to tell the doctor you were in an accident and save a copy of all receipts and give them to your personal injury attorney.

To schedule a consultation with a Schenectady personal injury lawyer, contact us today!