We have said in numerous blog posts that it is essential to receive medical care after an accident, and still we see so many people who refuse the care and live to regret that decision.
There are generally three reasons that a person will give for refusing medical attention after a St. Petersburg car accident:
- They felt fine until they got home or until the next morning
- They were confused and overwhelmed in the aftermath
- They didn’t think they could afford the care without health insurance.
We urge you: if you are in a car accident, please put aside these thoughts and do what is best for your health as well as seeking out a car accident lawyer to help you understand your rights and next steps.
That initial medical evaluation is important for numerous reasons.
1. Just because you do not have health insurance does not mean that you cannot get care right away.
Your own car insurance (if you do not own a car, then the insurance of the car that hit you) will automatically pay up to $10,000 in medical care even if you do not have health insurance. This coverage is called PIP insurance and is commonly referred to as no-fault insurance. This is made regardless of whether you make a personal injury claim, which is separate. PIP will also cover up to 60 percent of your lost wages (up to the PIP policy limits). Even if your PIP was used up, most all doctors and hospitals will take what is called a letter of protection, or LOP, in which they will treat you on credit and withhold collections until after your claim against the defendant’s insurance is resolved. A car accident lawyer can help you navigate insurance claims and next steps after a car accident.
2. You can avoid serious complications.
We already alluded to this reason, but it justifies further mention. Many St. Petersburg accident victims do not even know that they have been injured until the adrenaline stops flowing. In the military, they refer to this as the “walking wounded.” There is so much chaos and confusion after a crash that the stress causes your body to release hormones that can mask pain. Oftentimes, people actually end up needing and getting serious surgeries that result from a collision which, at first, are only reported as mild discomfort at the scene. Often, they only report perhaps a mild burning sensation in the neck and headaches. There are some very serious medical complications that can arise as a result of an accident, which aren’t necessarily immediately evident. Included on this list are Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and internal bleeding. Refusing a medical assessment after the accident can allow these issues to grow worse.
Internal bleeding can occur nearly anywhere in the body, and depending on where that bleeding occurs, the results can be devastating. In addition to severe, localized pain in the hours or days after an accident, if left untreated, internal bleeding can become a much bigger problem. It could lead to organ failure, shock, or even death. Undetected bleeding in the abdomen or chest can cause such a drastic loss of red blood cells that oxygen cannot be properly delivered to the various cells of the body. As organs become oxygen-deprived, they will begin to shut down, and this leads to a state of shock. Internal bleeding in or around the brain can cause increased pressure within the skull. This, in turn, can lead to damage to brain tissue, ultimately causing stroke-like symptoms, coma, or death.
Speaking of damage to brain tissue, a hard impact resulting from a car accident can be enough to cause brain bruising. When the tissue is damaged, the condition is ruled a traumatic brain injury. TBIs can be slight or very significant, and depending upon the severity, symptoms can last only a few days or for the rest of the victim’s life. Though the symptoms may not be immediately evident, they are nothing to scoff at. TBIs can cause difficulty with speech, processing, emotions, behavior, and even sensation. There is a link between TBI and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. When the injury is severe, it can lead to trouble with epilepsy, or disrupt the way the victim interprets certain sensations. The worst forms of TBI can leave a person paralyzed, with permanent memory loss or other serious life-changing side effects.
3. The insurance company’s attorneys will use it against you.
The costs of a car accident can be quite substantial, and even if you don’t think you are injured during the adrenaline high after the crash, you may find that you suffered more than initially registered. The medical care, the repair expenses, the lost wages, and other costs can quickly add up. The insurance companies’ adjusters and attorneys will jump on the fact that you refused medical care after the accident.
The opposing lawyer is going to do all that is possible to prove that the defendant is not responsible for any injuries you may have. The fact that you refused medical care may make it seem, to some, that you did not really suffer any harm in the accident. Do not hesitate to work with your own car accident lawyer — a personal injury attorney.
After you receive the medical care you need, take your case to a personal injury attorney for help navigating the legal processes that can occur after a vehicle accident. Contact us if you are interested in a free case evaluation.