It can be tempting not to see a doctor after a car accident, especially if you do not feel pain or appear to have injuries. You may not be sure whether the other driver’s insurance will cover the expenses and not want to run the risk of getting stuck with the bill.
However, not seeing a doctor after your accident could be even more costly. If you settle with insurance without seeing a doctor, you forfeit your right to file a claim later if you later find you have injuries. Even if you do not settle right away, insurance could use the fact that you did not seek immediate medical attention as grounds to deny your claim. There are also medical reasons to see a doctor after an accident.
1. Adrenaline can mask symptoms
Trauma from a car accident can cause serious injuries, such as bone fractures, disk herniations or ligament tears. It can also flood your system with adrenaline, which your body releases in response to perceived danger to help you either defend yourself or run away. It accomplishes this partially by masking pain symptoms so you do not feel them until after your body calms down.
It can take several hours for the effects of the adrenaline to wear off. You may not start feeling symptoms until then.
2. Symptoms can take a while to develop
Sometimes injuries from a car accident produce delayed symptoms. Not masked by adrenaline, these symptoms are not present or subjectively perceivable immediately after the crash. For example, symptoms of internal bleeding may not be evident until blood builds up in the tissues, which can take several hours.
3. Untreated injuries can cause future problems
Prompt medical treatment of car accident injuries improves your chances of full recovery. Left untreated, such injuries could contribute to future costly medical problems, such as arthritis.