Get CHECKED OUT by a medical professional. Sometimes, your body won’t immediately send signals that you have been injured in an accident. For example, pain can be masked by adrenaline giving the false impression that everything is OK. With soft tissue injuries, the associated pain may not appear immediately following the accident. Unless the accident is so minor in nature that injury is unlikely, consider getting checked out by a medical professional in order to ensure you are not seriously injured and to receive guidance on the next steps for treatment. Insurance companies will often argue that gaps and delays in medical treatment are indicators that injuries are mild or unrelated to the applicable accident.
Head Injury? Get CHECKED OUT immediately. If your head was impacted in any way, it is particularly important to be checked out right away to confirm the extent of any injury. One form of brain injury suffered through impact is called a subdural hematoma (bleeding on the brain). Left untreated, this injury can be life threatening, and the noticeable effects of the injury can take days to manifest themselves. You also need to be aware if you have suffered a concussion so that you can avoid certain activities that can further injure your brain while it is healing. It is important not to just brush off a head injury and “tough it out.” Get checked out.
CHECK OUT using your health insurance. If you have health insurance, insist that your medical providers process a claim through your insurance. Some providers will initially refuse or try to dissuade you from utilizing health insurance, claiming that because you were in an accident they cannot process a health insurance claim. This disingenuous approach is taken because the medical provider desires to be paid based on their full charges rather than be forced to accept the contract rate from the health insurance company. It is important to use your health insurance if you have it because, amongst other reasons, (i) there is no guarantee that the at-fault driver or their insurance company will properly compensate you to cover your medical bills, (ii) the contract rate discount and adjustments can help you recover more through your settlement and (iii) although the health insurance company is often entitled to seek reimbursement of their accident related payments, they can only do so from the proceeds of your settlement (not your personal assets).
CHECK OUT your providers. Obviously, if you require emergency treatment you will have little choice in the location where you are taken. For subsequent treatment, be sure to check online reviews and do your research when choosing a medical provider. Experience matters. Knowledge of auto related injuries matters. And, the satisfaction level of the medical provider’s other patients is often a good indicator of what you can expect during your treatment.