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Tom Clark

Tom Clark|United States

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Injured From a Car Accident? When Should You See a Doctor?

May 22, 2019

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Over 3,287 people lose their lives to car accidents every day. More often than not, survivors are left with large medical bills. That said, some of the injuries begin rather subtly.

Days and even weeks may pass before there's any evidence of injury. People who wait until then to find out they were injured from car accidents suffer two great disadvantages:

  1. Health problems are usually advanced by this time.
  2. The amount of compensation they're eligible for is greatly reduced by the delay.

Read on for more details on why you should see an accident doctor immediately after an accident.

Injured from a Car Accident? See an Accident Doctor ASAP

Most people don't even realize they're hurt after an accident. The stress of the moment triggers a fight or flight response. In this state, the body releases copious amounts of Adrenalin, which numb the pain.

It's only a few days after an accident that most people realize something's wrong. However, the fact is that even in low-speed car accidents, injury is almost certain. Accidents are instantaneous and the body is unprepared for impact.

That's why car accident injury is almost certain, only the severity's in question. Insurance companies also get grounds to downplay your injuries when you don't seek medical attention immediately after an accident. 

Let's look at the two main benefits of seeing a car accident doctor immediately after an accident:

  1. Early diagnosis of underlying injuries
  2. Better compensation from the insurer

Car Accident Headaches and Other Underlying Injuries

People don't necessarily bleed after they're injured from car accidents. As sadistic as it may sound, that's too bad. Almost everyone who bleeds after an accident seeks medical attention immediately. 

Underlying injuries are a little more complicated. There's no way of telling whether you're injured without expert attention. Let's look at three types of injuries that are only evident days after the accident.


Whiplash is almost synonymous with car accidents. It occurs when the neck is suddenly forced forward and then immediately snapped back into its original position. These sudden jerks place undue strain on the spine.

Whiplash is the main culprit behind car accident headaches. It also causes neck pain and tinnitus- the latter in rare cases. That said, whiplash is only detectable under X-ray.

There're over 3 million new cases of whiplash reported each year. About half of these cases birth chronic symptoms. That's why whiplash needs to be treated quickly.

Massage therapy can be quite useful in these cases.

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries can be mild enough to be ignored or severe enough to render you immobile. To illustrate, torn tendons cause permanent disability if ignored. On the other hand, mild sprains are easily fixed with a frozen bag of peas.

How then do you determine the severity of tissue injury?

The simple answer is: You don't! Only a doctor with specialized tools and training can do that.

Back Injuries

Back pain is among the leading causes of missed workdays in America. Initial stages of back injury may manifest in nothing more than a slight sore. The sore then persists and evolves into full-blown back pain.

That said, for how long should you be sore after a car accident? Well, it all depends on the cause of discomfort. Even while undergoing treatment, sore body parts are typical consequences of car accidents.

Here are more signs that you need to visit a doctor after your auto accident.

Treatment can be very costly and you'll also want to involve an injury lawyer. Speaking of lawyers, let's look at why you'll probably need one.

Involving a Lawyer After You're Injured in a Car Accident

Even as you engage with insurance, it helps to have a good injury lawyer at your side. Read the benefits of great injury lawyers.

Even though filing a lawsuit may seem too over the top, there are three reasons why you should consider it.

Financial Compensation

Why file a lawsuit if insurance is getting involved? Well, you don't want to settle for just any compensation, you want sufficient compensation. Even as your insurer engages the other driver's insurance company, fair compensation isn't guaranteed.

You're entitled to much more than the typical repair and treatment costs. For example, your mental trauma also needs attention. On the other hand, fair or not, insurance companies will gladly pay you the lowest you'll accept.

Auto accident lawyers will help you assess your situation and suggest the amount of compensation you're eligible for. You should also note that a doctor's report is pivotal for your case. The sooner you see the doctor, the higher the compensation you qualify to get.


Car accidents kill more young people than any disease in the world. Most of these accidents are avoidable. Filing a lawsuit keeps reckless drivers accountable for their actions.

You also shouldn't pay out-of-pocket to treat injuries inflicted by another's recklessness. 

The Right of Defense

More often than not, the other driver (or their insurer) will try to slice you a piece of the blame. When you are innocent of all offense, it helps to have it on record. If you let such accusations pass, your life will become complicated.

Taking the blame for an accident increases the risk of insurance, consequently increasing your premiums. Such accusations usually come in the form of passing remarks that are easy to miss. That's why you need a good lawyer with you.

The Verdict

When some people are injured from car accidents, they make the mistake of seeking medical attention too late. Consequently, they put their health and finances at risk.

Most of the health problems arising from auto accidents are only detectable in a hospital. Failure to seek medical attention after an accident delays treatment, increasing the injury's severity. With increased severity comes increased discomfort and cost of treatment.

From the law's point of view, delayed medical attention extenuates the severity of your injuries. That's to say that insurers will only pay up a fraction of what you deserve.

So, after an accident, how much time should pass before you see a doctor? You should see a doctor immediately after an accident and no more than 72 hours after. 

Read more about what you should do after an accident.