EMERGENCY ROOM OR URGENT CARE AFTER AUTO ACCIDENT?
Our car accident lawyers see many cases where the people in a crash go to urgent care or the emergency room just to get checked out. Sometimes our lawyers are asked after an accident if the people in the crash should get checked out at urgent care or the ER right away. Our answer is that it really depends on the situation and how the person is feeling at the time.
Generally, there is no real reason to get checked out by a doctor JUST because you were involved in a car accident. On the other hand, if you think you may have actually been seriously injured, then of course you should go to the emergency room or urgent care right away. Obviously if you may have a broken bone or you are having severe neck or back pain you should get checked out immediately. Other signs that you should get checked out right away include if you are feeling nausea, are having trouble with concentration or thinking, are having difficulty standing or walking, etc.
Some people assume that they should get checked out by a doctor immediately after a car accident so it will help their case later. There is a tiny bit of truth to this, because an insurance company lawyer will bring up there was no immediate treatment if they are fighting your case in court. However, there are also disadvantages to going to an urgent care or emergency room rather than seeing your own doctor a day or two later. For one thing, when you go to an urgent care or emergency room after an accident, you may be there waiting a long time if there is not something truly urgent about your condition that needs attention. It is not always first come first served in those situations, and they often take the people with most serious injuries first. Also, an urgent care or emergency doctor doesn’t know you and your usual health, so they will be less tuned in to how your condition has changed. Plus, in many situations where the injury is not immediately obvious, you have to see a doctor several times before you can get a real diagnosis and effective treatment – but the emergency room doesn’t really start that process because you won’t be seeing that same doctor again for the same condition; you will be following up with a general practice doctor or specialist.
Our lawyers do recommend that you not delay treatment if you are having pain or other symptoms after a car accident, but the treatment does not necessarily have to start within the first few hours after the crash. Again, it depends on the situation, but you should not feel compelled to go to an urgent care center just because you were in the accident, you can just as well schedule time with a regular doctor a few days later. If you have been involved in a Minnesota car accident, please call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. We will explain your rights to you and make sure your interests are protected.