Should You Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?

December 22, 2023 / RP Legal

Being in a car accident is a frightening and bewildering experience, often leaving the victim unsure of what to do next. Immediately after being in a crash, it’s important to stay calm, get your bearings, and check on your and your passengers’ conditions.

Whether you should go to the hospital depends largely on the circumstances of your accident, but seeking medical attention of some kind will prove essential to your health and legal rights. After you attend to your medical needs, talk to the Columbia, SC auto accident attorneys of Rikard & Protopapas.

Signs You Should Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident

Automobile accident victims are often reluctant to visit the hospital. Their reasons vary and may include:

  • A belief that they either were not injured or only suffered minor injuries
  • Apprehension about medical bills due to the lack of adequate health insurance
  • Preoccupation with other concerns such as picking up their children from school
  • Worry about missing work and losing money
  • Aversion to hospitals because of wait times, fears of catching a disease, and other issues

These are understandable concerns, but not going to the hospital or seeing a doctor could unnecessarily exacerbate your health and legal situations.

Why medical attention matters after a crash

Notwithstanding the specific question of whether to visit a hospital, it is imperative that the victim at least visits an urgent care facility or his or her primary care physician as soon as possible.

Not all medical problems are readily apparent in the immediate aftermath of a crash. Your health troubles could manifest themselves in the hours and days that follow. Caring for your injuries is essential for your personal well-being and to avoid long-term complications.

Seeing a doctor is also critical to protect your right to seek the most available compensation for your injuries. If you fail to have a medical professional evaluate and treat you after your wreck, and your injuries worsen, the negligent party’s attorneys and insurance company will blame you for aggravating your own injuries. This could lessen the amount of damages you might otherwise receive.

When to Go to the Hospital After a Crash

If you or any of your passengers have been seriously injured, go to the ER right away. This is especially the case if you or someone else has suffered head trauma, which could be a sign of a concussion or traumatic brain injury.

Any sort of vision trouble, dizziness, confusion, or inability to focus or speak properly should be evaluated at the hospital. If there are bone fractures, bleeding, or burns, these will also require emergency treatment to prevent more serious problems.

Call 911 and ask for emergency medical services for you and any other victims.

Why and How Long Will You Need to Stay in the Hospital?

Hospitals provide services you may not receive from an urgent care facility or your physician. A trauma team will evaluate your condition and decide the level of care you will need, which could be intensive depending on the circumstances.

Doing so may require taking vital signs, asking questions, and taking x-rays and other imaging. Staff can also assist with severe accidents and injuries by closely monitoring your condition after you’ve stabilized. Also, you will have access to specialists who can address your exact needs. All of these services could be crucial to protecting your long-term health.

The duration of your stay will depend on various factors such as:

  • The severity of your injuries: If the doctors decide your injuries are minor, you could be discharged the same day and asked to follow up with your primary care physician.
  • Your overall health: This will take into consideration any pre-existing conditions, medications you are taking, the strength of your immune system (in the event that infection is a concern), and more.
  • Your age: Older and younger accident victims generally need more care and more time to ascertain how bad their injuries are.
  • How long it takes to administer medical services: Various factors affect this such as whether the hospital is fully staffed, how many other patients need care, and of course how bad your condition is.
  • Insurance coverage: Limits to your health insurance policy may dictate the amount of time you can stay in the hospital and still be covered.
  • Preference for at-home care: Depending on your treating physician, it may be more optimal to send you home with care instructions than to have you remain in the hospital.

Seeking Compensation for Your Hospital Medical Bills

It’s understandable for car accident victims to have reservations about going to the ER after a car accident. Nobody wants to have their work and personal lives interrupted or worry about how medical expenses will be paid. It’s important to remember, however, that you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. Protecting that right, and your health, starts with promptly obtaining medical care.

Working with an experienced Columbia, SC car accident attorney, you have the right to seek monetary damages to cover:

  • Medical bills, including for ambulatory care, hospitalization, surgery, prescription medication, specialist services, rehabilitation, physical therapy, adaptive medical equipment, and more
  • Lost wages for time spent recovering from your injuries, attending medical appointments, and other accident-related needs
  • Lost future wages (lost earning ability) in the event your injury makes it impossible for you to work at the same job, or at the same capacity, as before your accident
  • Certain non-economic damages such as physical pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life
  • Wrongful death damages if the victim dies from his or her injuries

Our firm investigates the circumstances surrounding car accidents so we can identify all responsible parties and uncover the evidence needed to prove your case. We also have a network of expert witnesses who can testify as to any future money losses you will incur, for example from subsequent treatments and lost earnings. These will support your demand for a damages award from the at-fault party and/or the insurance company.

We’ll Fight for You After a Crash That Results in a Hospital Stay

Once you decide whether you should go to the hospital after an automobile wreck, it’s time to retain seasoned legal counsel. Rikard & Protopapas can help you secure the monetary compensation you need to get your life back to normal.

However, it’s imperative that you don’t delay speaking with an attorney. There are deadlines to file your claim and it may take time to build a strong case depending on the circumstances of your accident. Count on our team to seek the maximum damages available under the law. Call us today.

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