You might have already learned the hard way that even the most defensive, cautious driver can end up in an accident.
Thankfully, most fender-benders aren’t particularly painful—at least, not at first. Whether you’ve been rear-ended or were involved in a multi-car pile-up, there’s a good chance you’ll walk away from the scene feeling fine, fit, and healthy. Wanting to put the accident behind you and move on is an understandable reaction to an unpredictable trauma.
Not All Injuries Are the Same
What you may not have considered is a simple but oft-forgotten medical reality: the adrenaline and anxiety that follow even a minor accident can mask major harm.
Consider this: a day, a week, or a month after your accident, you realize something isn’t quite right. Maybe you strained your neck, sustained a concussion, or fractured a small bone. You go to the doctor, get diagnosed, and realize your problem probably came from the crash. You don’t want to pay out-of-pocket for something that wasn’t your fault, so you decide to take the other driver, or the insurance carrier, to court.
Waiting Too Long Hurts Your Case
Unfortunately, the longer you wait to see a doctor, the worse it looks for you. The other motorist’s insurance adjuster is going to say that if you were really hurt, you would’ve made a beeline for the hospital. If their legal counsel is aggressive, they might even accuse you of lying about your injuries.
You improve your chances of being compensated by another driver’s insurance company when you follow these steps:
- If you’ve been in an accident, take stock not only of the damage to your vehicle but to yourself. Are you in pain? Do you suspect something’s not quite right? Write it down, or otherwise document how you’re feeling
- Go to the hospital. Tell your doctor what happened, and follow their advice
- If you sustained any injuries or are suspected of having sustained any injuries, follow through with whatever your physician advises: if he or she says you need physical rehab, then go to rehab
Your doctor usually knows what’s best for your health—in many cases, they can even identify injuries you yourself may have overlooked.
When you heed your doctor’s advice and play by his or her rules, you’re not only helping your health, but you are also bolstering any legal case you might have to file.