One of the most challenging aspects of any car wreck, truck wreck, or motor vehicle accident is proving damages. Quite often, car wrecks do not result in broken bones, stitches, or deep lacerations, but the injuries sustained can and are real. The violent jolt and change in velocity (crash) that your body is subjected too can cause sprains, strains, stretching, tearing and bruising of your ligaments and soft tissue.
Here is what we think you should do after a wreck to properly document and treat your injuries for your own health and for your claim, should you seek to pursue the compensation you may deserve.
*If you have health insurance, make sure that you use it. (More on this in other blogs) Many hospital facilities may insist that you sign a Letter Of Protection or Lien or give them the name of the at-fault party's auto insurance so they can seek med pay coverage. Be adamant that they bill your health insurance (as long as they typically accept that same kind of insurance), especially if you have Medicare or Medicaid coverage.
1. If you are jolted and mildly hurting, then go get treatment for your injuries upfront. You should go to the emergency room after the wreck to get checked out. People too often try to “tough it out” and thus refuse treatment at the scene, thinking, “I wasn’t hurt too bad, and I certainly don’t need to go to the ER. I just want to go home.” Well after the adrenaline wears off and your body begins to return to its normalcy, your soft tissue (ligaments, muscles, joints, etc.) starts the healing process and here comes the PAIN.
The next few days or weeks may be rough, so we suggest you go to the Emergency Room or your family doctor to get checked out immediately just to make sure there isn’t anything more serious going on. After all, you aren’t a medical professional (most likely) with the training and skill (or equipment) to properly diagnose your conditions. So go get checked out!
2. After you get checked out and a few days or week pass, if you are still hurting, follow up with your treating doctor. If you still are in pain after a couple of days, then you should follow up with your primary care physician (family doctor) or walk-in clinic physician's assistant to discuss your condition with a trained professional. They can help with a treatment plan and discuss more or less serious conditions as appropriate. They’ll know what to do!
3. After a week or so, if your family doctor (or PA) isn’t able to help alleviate pain, then you should ask for a referral to an orthopedic doctor. Orthopaedic's specialize in these types of injuries and are better equipped to help you heal. In our Logan Mingo Boone Wyoming areas, we have a few excellent orthopedic doctor practices with privileges at all the major hospitals. Seek someone local that you can trust. No need to run to Charleston!
4. Your orthopedic doctor will likely refer you to physical therapy (physical therapist) to see if that helps. If it does, then that is great because remember, the key is to get better. If your physical therapy helps, then you are in a better position now than you were.
5. If physical therapy (PT) doesn’t help, go back to your orthopedic doctor for a follow-up. Your health insurance company usually will not pay for an MRI until you have completed physical therapy. If you are still not better, then your doctor can order an MRI that will show a lot more than the X-rays that don’t show much.
6. Your orthopedic doctor may recommend injections or surgery. Make arrangements to get these treatments as recommended by your doctor. If you don’t get these treatments, you won’t get better and you won’t recover everything you are entitled to in your personal injury case.
7. This should go without saying, but I’ll say it: don’t miss any doctor appointments.
8. If you are still not getting better, seek second opinions when you reach the end of the line with your first doctor. Often times they will have a colleague to whom they can make a referral to help get you the treatment specialist that you need.
9. Lastly, consider chiropractic treatment. Some people will have lifelong injuries that can only be treated by consistent chiropractic treatment. You won’t know if it will help you until you try. The frequency will be a lot in the beginning, possibly 3-4 times per week, but that will taper off as the treatments begin to work. Then, you can just come in as needed.
Of course, this not an exhaustive list of damages in your car wreck case because your damages claim may include: lost wages, lost business expectancy, annoyance, inconvenience, aggravation, punitive damages, and many other types of emotional or economic losses.
For a more in-depth discussion of your car wreck case and your damages claim, you can give us a call at 304-245-9097. Ask for Steven. We routinely handle such claims and are happy to discuss it with you in an initial consultation. As always, in car wreck cases such as this, no fee if no recovery.
So you’ve got nothing to lose by calling us. Most of the time we can negotiate a confidential pre-lawsuit settlement which means you don’t have to file a lawsuit in court. However, that option is still available to you should the insurer or tortfeasor refuse to be reasonable in pre-lawsuit negotiations. Call Wolfe, White & Associates law firm to get your case evaluated today!
Steven S. Wolfe, Esq.