What Doctor Should I See After a Car Accident in California?
Following motor vehicle collisions in Los Angeles, many people are overwhelmed and are unsure what to do. People might sustain serious, obvious injuries that are visibly and immediately apparent while others might initially think that they are not injured only to develop symptoms several hours or days later. You should seek immediate medical attention whenever you are involved in a car crash. Even if you are unsure whether you have been injured, you might have serious injuries that could worsen without treatment. Getting prompt medical care can help to identify and diagnose any injuries and help to ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment. Prompt medical care following an accident can also help to preserve your rights to pursue compensation for your losses.Why Seeing a Doctor Immediately After an Accident Is Important
When you are involved in a collision, your body naturally floods your system with adrenaline as a part of your fight-or-flight response. You might also be in shock. Both being in shock and having a flood of adrenaline in your system can mask your sensations of pain, so you might not initially recognize the symptoms of injuries.
Some types of serious injuries may not show immediate symptoms but still require medical care, including whiplash, back injuries, traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, soft tissue injuries, and others. Without immediate medical care, these types of injuries can worsen.
Seeking medical care right after your accident can help to protect your health and make the recovery process faster. Immediate medical care and treatment following an accident can also help to protect the value of your accident claim. Insurance companies generally want to see that accident victims have sought medical care within a short time after their accidents and frequently use delays in treatment as a reason to deny or devalue claims. If you don't see a doctor for multiple days or weeks after your collision, the insurance company will likely try to blame your injuries on an intervening event to try to avoid paying your claim.
At the accident scene, the police officer will likely ask you if you have been injured. If you do not think that you have been injured, you should simply tell the officer that you need to get checked out by your doctor. Do not deny that you have been injured, and make sure to go to the doctor as soon as possible for a medical examination. If you have obvious injuries and symptoms, take the ambulance to the emergency department for care.Types of Doctors You Might See Following a Car Accident
The type of doctor you might need to see following your collision depends on the types and severity of your injuries. The doctors and other healthcare providers that you see should be experienced in treating people who have been injured in car accidents. Following a motor vehicle collision, you might need to see one of the types of doctors below.Emergency Medicine Physician
If you have serious injuries, you might need to take an ambulance to the emergency department of your local hospital. Emergency room doctors work in emergency departments and stabilize and treat patients with traumatic injuries or other acute health issues.Primary Care Physician
If you do not have immediately noticeable injuries and are able to walk away from your collision, you should still make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. If you can't get an appointment with your PCP quickly, you should go to urgent care for an evaluation.Orthopedist
If you have suffered damage to your bones or joints, including dislocations, fractures, and others, you might be referred by the hospital or your PCP to an orthopedic specialist. These doctors treat fractures, back injuries, and neck injuries.Neurologist
If you suffered from a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury, you will likely need to be treated by a neurologist. Neurologists are specialists who treat conditions affecting the central nervous system, including the spine and brain.
While the emergency department and urgent care are always great options for an initial evaluation and treatment, lingering issues frequently require follow-up care and physical therapy. It is important that you follow all of the recommendations for follow-up care you are given by your doctor.
Many popular health insurance providers, including Kaiser Permanente and others, are sometimes reluctant to refer patients to specialists or physical therapists. Health insurers sometimes might also be reluctant to approve important imaging tests, including MRIs and CT scans. Some doctors also are reluctant to treat patients if they know that their injuries are related to potential personal injury claims, including auto accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and others. An experienced personal injury attorney can refer people to specialists, physical therapy, and MRI studies if you are having trouble getting the treatment you need.
You should never put off seeking medical care. The personal injury attorneys at the Steven M. Sweat, Injury Lawyers, APC can help you identify doctors and specialists who will be willing to treat you. If you wait to seek treatment, your injuries can worsen, and the insurance company might then argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident or that they were not serious and do not require as much treatment as you need.What to Do if Your Primary Care Doctor Refuses to See You
Some PCPs refuse to treat patients who have been injured in automobile accidents or other personal injury accidents that they know might involve lawsuits. Some PCPs don't want to provide treatment to people who have been injured in automobile accidents because of the added paperwork and different billing processes involved. Some doctors are not accustomed to billing auto insurers and are not set up to do so. Other doctors simply do not want to be involved in a potential litigation process.
If your PCP refuses to treat your injuries, you should still pursue treatment. You can go to the emergency department if you urgently need care. You can also go to an urgent care center. You might have to pay out-of-pocket, but the fees you might have to pay will be reimbursed if you prevail in your injury claim. You can also retain a personal injury lawyer who can help you find a doctor who will be willing to treat you. Quality personal injury lawyers have lists of doctors who are willing to treat accident victims and understand the types of injuries they should watch for.
Whenever you are involved in a collision or another type of injury accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. When you get immediate medical attention, you might be able to prevent your injuries from growing worse. Many injuries will worsen if they go untreated and can cause potentially debilitating complications. For example, if you have a traumatic brain injury and fail to get immediate medical care and treatment, you could suffer permanent damage and lifelong disabilities. By contrast, if you seek immediate medical attention, the doctors can promptly diagnose your injuries and provide treatment to prevent further damage.
If your accident was caused by someone else, promptly seeking medical care can also mean the difference in your ability to recover compensation for your losses or not. In a personal injury lawsuit, your medical and treatment records will be important for determining the value and validity of your claim, including the potential costs of future care. If you do not seek treatment for weeks following your accident, the insurance company will likely deny your claim, and it will be difficult for you to prove that your injuries were caused by your accident.Speak to an Experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were injured in a collision that was caused by someone else's negligence, you should consult an experienced auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after you have received treatment. While you have three years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, it is best to retain a lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. Working with an attorney from the start can help you to preserve evidence before it might be lost and help your attorney to conduct a thorough investigation. A lawyer can also handle the communication with the insurance company for you so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Attorney Steven M. Sweat has 25 years of experience representing auto accident victims and has developed an extensive network of quality physicians to whom he routinely refers clients. Contact the law firm of Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC today for a free consultation by calling us at 866-966-5240.