In the moment right after a car accident, you know what steps to take and who to call. First, unless a passerby already did so, you call 911. You probably also call a loved one who needs to know about the situation and who can arrive quickly to help you out. Once you've spoken with the officer and the other driver, you should also call your insurance company to let them know about the accident.
But there's another call you need to place as soon as possible after an accident: a call to your doctor's office. Even if you only experienced minor injuries like whiplash, scheduling a doctor's visit right after your accident is a crucial step that can make or break any future personal injury suits you file for compensation.
Keep reading to learn why you should contact a doctor right after an accident and what a doctor's office can do to help prove your future suit in court.
1. Injuries Can Be More Dangerous Than They Appear
In a previous blog, we discussed Natasha Richardson, an actress who experienced a seemingly minor head injury while skiing. However, head injuries are often more dangerous than they seem, and Richardson later died from the traumatic injury to her brain.
Hopefully, your injuries weren't as devastating as Richardson's, especially if you were involved in a minor fender-bender. But you shouldn't trust your own judgment about whether or not you have a head injury after an accident.
If you hit your head on the steering wheel during the collision, for instance, don't assume that your headache is the only souvenir. More intense injuries could be lurking beneath the skin, but only your doctor will be able to identify and treat them in time.
Depending on how severe the accident was, an ambulance may or may not have been present at the scene of the crash. Don't refuse to get checked out by the paramedics, even if you feel fine - always let them look you over so they can detect any injuries you might have overlooked in the shock of the accident.
If the paramedics tell you to visit a doctor in the next few days, do so: failing to follow their instructions will exacerbate your injury and make your quest for compensation much more challenging.
2. Doctors Provide Necessary Paperwork
When you file a personal injury suit, the court needs much more than your word for it that you were seriously injured or disabled and deserve compensation.
Instead, they need as much official documentation as possible to demonstrate that extent of your injuries and verify that you did everything in your power to treat those injuries, including visiting a doctor as quickly as possible after the accident itself. Setting an appointment with your doctor will begin the medical documentation you'll use as evidence in your upcoming court case.
3. Doctors Are a Crucial Part of Your Legal Defense
A doctor who is familiar with your health and treatment plan is an invaluable witness in a personal injury case. The doctor can testify about the extent of your injuries, explain how your injuries will continue to impact your life, and describe the future treatments necessary to improve your quality of life. All of these factors play a crucial role in determining how much you'll eventually receive as fiscal compensation.
While you work closely with your doctor to heal, you likely don't have the skills necessary to examine your doctor in front of the court - and you shouldn't have to assume this task yourself. Instead, let yourself focus on healing while your lawyer handles the heavy lifting of speaking with your doctor, assembling the right documentation, and preparing the doctor to testify.
At the Law Office of Randolph C. Slone, we help clients in Louisiana get the compensation they need to recover after a personal injury. Contact us to schedule your free initial consultation and get more advice on how experts like your doctor will play into your upcoming case.