After a minor car accident, you may be tempted to dismiss mild aches and pains. This can be particularly true for individuals who are in a hurry to reach their destination. Yet, failing to go to a hospital and to file a claim promptly may compromise your legal rights. Even if you believe you only have minor whiplash or seat belt injuries near Douglasville, GA, it is important to be examined by a medical provider right away. After seeking medical attention, you should contact a car accident lawyer, even if you are not yet sure if you need help with the insurance company or if you might file a lawsuit.
You May Have a Delayed Onset of Symptoms
If you have a dislocated shoulder or a fractured arm, you will likely notice painful symptoms right away. However, some car accident injuries may not lead to symptoms until a day or two after the crash. A classic example is whiplash. Whiplash injuries involve damage to the soft tissues of the neck, such as the muscles and ligaments. These structures are forced into hyperextension, which stretches and tears the tissues. Whiplash injuries can sometimes be quite severe, even if the symptoms are not immediately apparent. It is best to go to a hospital or clinic for an evaluation, just in case.
Your Injuries May be More Serious than They Appear
Sometimes, the true nature of injuries is camouflaged by the adrenaline that the body releases during a car accident. Some car crash victims have suffered significant injuries, such as internal bleeding, yet only reported minor aches and pains in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Delaying treatment for a serious injury may sometimes lead to life-threatening complications.
You Will Need to Document Your Injuries
When your car accident lawyer negotiates with the insurance carrier on your behalf, he or she will need to provide evidence of your injuries. If you delay seeking medical treatment, the insurance adjuster can claim that your injuries were caused by other, unrelated incidents, or that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. Getting prompt medical care means that you will have medical records to substantiate your claim. This is also crucial in the event that your car accident attorney files a lawsuit.
John W. Sherrod is a Founding Partner of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., who has represented injury victims and their families in Georgia for more than 30 years. A native of Marietta, Georgia, John graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia in 1984 and graduated from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law at the top of his class in 1987. In addition to his law practice, John is a frequent speaker at trial lawyer functions and an active member of several professional organizations, including the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and Southern Trial Lawyers Association.