Car accident injuries can range from minor to severe, and it is not always easy to tell the difference between the two. The onset of symptoms can be slow for some injuries, and may even develop over the hours, days, and weeks immediately following a collision.
Knowing when and where to seek medical care after a car accident is essential to your future health and well-being. The type of doctor you should see immediately following an accident will differ depending on your injuries, symptoms, and how you are feeling. Stapp Law, LLC recommends you see the following doctors after an accident.
Emergency Room Doctors
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to proceed straight to one of Williamsport’s emergency rooms (ERs) after a car accident. You should make the ER your first stop if you have:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Deep lacerations
- Significant back or neck pain
- Any severe pain
- Inability to move or use limbs
- A headache that won’t go away
- Coughing blood or vomiting
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or fainting
- Difficulty speaking or forming words
- Severe vomiting
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Vision changes or inability to see
- Hearing changes or inability to hear
These symptoms could indicate that something serious is going on. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), skull fractures, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage all require prompt medical attention to prevent further harm or even death. ER doctors can order imaging or testing that will help them diagnose and begin treatments for your injury.
The above is far from a comprehensive list of injuries or symptoms for which you should go to the emergency room after a car accident. If for any reason you feel worried or like you are not yourself, go to the ER. Do not feel worried that you are overreacting or exaggerating your symptoms—it is always better to be safe than sorry.
You should not let any concerns over medical bills for an ER visit hold you back, either. If you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, a car accident lawyer can help you secure compensation for your damages, including medical bills related to collision injuries.
Your Primary Care Doctor
Just because you are involved in an accident does not necessarily mean that you need to proceed straight to the emergency room. If you feel relatively unharmed or only notice a few bumps or bruises, there may be no need for emergency medical care.
That does not mean you should forego medical care altogether. When you’ve finished up at the scene of the accident (including calling police, taking pictures of your vehicle, and swapping information with the other driver), call your doctor to schedule an appointment within the next couple of days. Your doctor can evaluate whether you’ve suffered any minor injuries for which you will need treatment, or whether something more serious might be going on.
Be sure to carefully follow your primary care doctor’s instructions, including any referrals for imaging, testing, or seeing a specialist. Take all medications as prescribed and follow your at-home care instructions. When seeking compensation for an injury, you should be able to demonstrate that you did everything within your ability to recover. To an insurance company, failing to follow your primary care doctor’s instructions could be interpreted as an indication that you were not seriously hurt.
An Urgent Care Doctor
If you felt fine after an accident and decided to skip the emergency, you might be waiting a few days for your appointment with your regular doctor. Playing the waiting game can be hard, though, especially if you start experiencing new or worsening pain.
Not all pain warrants an ER visit, but if you are experiencing more pain than you expected and do not feel like you can wait until your appointment, visit an urgent care location. Urgent care doctors can provide care and treatment that helps manage your pain levels until you are able to see your regular doctor. In some cases, an urgent care doctor might also notice the signs and symptoms of a serious injury and send you to the ER for prompt medical care.
Be sure to let the urgent care doctor know that you were involved in a car accident. This information will help guide their assessment and treatment.
Whether you were seen in the emergency room, at your doctor’s office, or in an urgent care facility, follow up with any and all specialists to which you are referred. Some specialists you might need to see after an accident include:
- Trauma surgeons
- Neurosurgeons or neurologists
- Burn specialists
- General surgeons
- Orthopedists or orthopedic surgeons
- Plastic surgeons
These types of doctors have specialized knowledge in their respective fields. If you suffer any type of severe or traumatic injury to specific regions of your body, including your spinal cord, brain, or lungs, you will need to work with a doctor who is trained to correctly diagnose and treat your injuries. Always use your referrals for specialists and follow any plans of treatments as carefully as possible. Your health and recovery matter.
Life After a Serious Car Accident Injury
Your life may be forever changed following a car accident. If you suffered severe or traumatic injuries such as a TBI or spinal cord damage, you may never reach what most people think of as a full recovery. Your new normal might mean being unable to work, regular visits to the doctor, and relying on medical devices. This can be physically, emotionally, and financially taxing.
At Stapp Law, LLC, we believe that every car accident victim deserves the right help. If you were injured through no fault of your own, compensation for your injuries and related damages will be invaluable on your path toward the best possible recovery. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will not be easy to work with, though. Most insurance companies prioritize profits over people, meaning that they will try to push you to settle for compensation that is often less than what you deserve.
Gregory Stapp, an experienced personal injury attorney in Williamsport, has what it takes to get you the compensation you need for your recovery. Call us or fill out our online form to schedule an initial consultation today.