Lawyers, insurance companies, automakers, and doctors always say that the first thing you should do after a car crash is call 911. They say this not only because police can respond and write a report about the crash but also because medical care is so important after a crash.
If you were involved in an accident, you should always get immediate medical attention by calling 911 and asking for an ambulance. At the very least, have the EMTs check you out and see what additional care is needed. Never let injuries linger or delay going to the hospital. There are a few potential medical effects of waiting to get medical care as well as serious legal effects that a delay in care can have on your potential car accident case.
For help with your car accident, call Legal Care New Jersey’s New Jersey car accident lawyers today at (732) 838-9769.
Dangers of Delaying Medical Care After an NJ Car Crash
If you wait to get medical care after a car accident, there are some negative health issues that can result. Some of these are merely uncomfortable or inconvenient, but others can be deadly:
Pain and Discomfort
If you do not get medical care after a crash, you could be left with pain and discomfort. You might not know the source of this – it could be a slipped disc in your back or a small fracture you can’t identify – and it will continue to linger and cause you additional discomfort. A doctor can give you a course of treatment to deal with the pain and identify underlying injuries that might be causing it.
If you have internal injuries you do not know about and you do not get medical care, you could be bleeding internally. While people usually think of bleeding as when the blood comes out of your body, you can also bleed into other parts of your body. Blood pooling in places it is not supposed to be is still blood that is leaving your veins and arteries and not going through your heart and circulating oxygen throughout your body. This is just as dangerous or even more dangerous than an uncontrolled bleed and needs immediate medical attention.
Even cuts and scrapes can get infected, but larger wounds and injuries have a more serious chance of becoming infected. You need immediate medical care after an injury to keep the wound clean and make sure that you know how, when, and how to change the bandages and clean the wound to prevent infection. With some injuries, doctors might also prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to help prevent an infection before it starts.
With serious infections that spread throughout your body, you can become septic, go into shock, and die. So get medical care for any open wounds.
If you hit your head, you could have a concussion. While issues around falling asleep with a concussion are often not quite medically accurate, there are plenty of complications that can arise with a concussion. With a more serious head injury, you could be suffering from a brain hemorrhage or other damage inside your brain that you cannot notice from the outside. With brain injuries, you can never be too cautious; go to the hospital and get your head checked if you suffered any blows to the head during a crash.
Sometimes you cannot identify an injury through a cursory self-exam. Sometimes EMTs cannot even identify the injuries you faced. In some cases, EMTs might suggest going to the hospital for observation or imaging (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs) to find injuries they can’t find. Other times, they will suggest that you go home and rest, and if other injuries arise, go to the ER. This is common with whiplash and many soft-tissue and back injuries, as these injuries do not become apparent until the day after a crash when your muscles, tendons, and ligaments have had a chance to retract from being stretched.
Injuries Don’t Heal
Some injuries will not heal without medical care, or they will even get worse or heal wrong. This could result in additional care needs down the road or worsened conditions.
How Delaying Medical Care Can Impact Your Car Accident Case in NJ
Our Trenton, NJ car accident lawyers always recommend getting cleared by an EMT or going to the hospital after a crash if you suspect any injuries, not only because of the health impact but because of three important legal effects delayed treatment can have on your case:
If your injuries get worse because of something you did or didn’t do, then you are on the hook for the excess damages. For example, let’s say that your broken arm would have been worth $5,000 in medical expenses and pain and suffering. If it got 30% worse and needed another $2,000 surgery to re-set the bone because you didn’t go to the hospital until a week later, you would receive only the base $5,000. You would receive nothing for the additional $2,000 or any compensation for the 30% increase in pain and suffering if that is attributed to your own delay in treatment.
Hurting Claims About Severity
If your injuries are severe, they should be compensated at a higher level. Worse injuries cost more, after all. NJ law also only allows lawsuits for injuries when the injury qualifies as “serious.” If you went days and days without getting medical care, the insurance companies and jurors will be unlikely to believe it was really that severe.
Connecting Injuries to Accident
If you seemed fine at the scene of the accident and the defendant claims they didn’t see any injuries, then a few days later you went to the hospital and claimed you were injured a few days back in a car accident, it will be hard to believe that claim. The defense will say that your injuries actually happened after the accident, and without medical records and EMT reports dated to the time and date of the accident, it will be harder to prove your injuries did actually happen in that car crash.
Call Our Lawyers for Help with Your NJ Car Accident
If you were hurt in an accident, call (732) 838-9769 today for a free case evaluation with Legal Care New Jersey’s Newark, NJ car accident lawyers.