What to do if you get in a Car Accident?

What to Do if You Get in a Car Accident

Last updated Monday, September 19th, 2022

What to Do if You Get in a Car Accident

If you get into an accident, whether in a car, on a motorcycle, or even walking – it’s critically important to take care of yourself first. This is before you worry about documenting the scene of the accident and the involved vehicles and their drivers.

Get Medical Treatment After Any Accident

Getting medical treatment after an accident of any kind is VERY important. Accidents are scary, and it can be hard to think straight when so much stress happens at once. Throughout that stress, it’s key to remember that your body’s health matters most.

Accident-related trauma can be very tricky in how it manifests itself. Bodies release huge amounts of endorphins and create adrenaline when subjected to a traumatic event – like a car accident. This can make you feel completely fine at the accident scene even when you’ve been severely injured. Your survival instinct has kicked in and only once things calm down when you know for certain the extent of your injuries.

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It’s common for people to have health problems show up days, weeks, or even months after an accident. It might even take some time for those people to realize where the new pain is coming from. With the accident behind them, there is no clear link between it and the pain.

Many small injuries may heal over time without any intervention, but other silent injuries may grow worse as time goes on. Immediate treatment after an accident, even when you are feeling okay, needs to be your priority.

While car accidents are the leading cause of the types of personal injury victims we work with, there are plenty of other types of injuries that our clients seek advice about – such as:

Regardless of how you got hurt – you NEED to be sure that you get a full medical exam by your doctor or head to the ER for a full workup. Even when the injury seems to be mild, there is always a chance that something bigger is going on behind the scenes.

Delaying treatment for any injuries, minor or major, could lead you onto an even more difficult road:

  • Longer recovery periods
  • Re-injury problems
  • Aggravation or increased injury pain
  • Difficulty getting fast referrals to specialists
  • Delayed healing
  • Permanent pain or reduced mobility

Why Medical Treatment After A Car Accident Matters

Why Medical Treatment After A Car Accident Matters

Some people are reluctant to visit a hospital after their injury unless they are in urgent need of care. What should you do after a car accident injury if you are feeling basically fine, but just banged up? Again, get a full workup so that you can document any of your symptoms, which will help your doctor in the long term better support your recovery. This is especially important after a car accident if ANY of these symptoms show up gradually after a few hours or days:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Stress
  • Confusion
  • Exhaustion

All of these symptoms could be signs of bigger problems, such as a concussion or a traumatic brain injury.

You Need to Document Your Health 

If you end up with latent medical problems that are linked to an accident, you may want to file a claim for financial compensation down the line. This type of claim is going to require proof of your medical condition, and it is better to have records as early as possible.

The longer you wait to seek help for any injuries, the harder it will be to prove the cause of those injuries. Even if you don’t think you will want to file a claim, it’s always better to be over-prepared should your situation, and mind, change later on.

When Should I Go To A Doctor After A Car Accident?

Other people wonder when is the right time to seek medical treatment after a car accident. In some cases, emergency responders at the scene of the accident will suggest you take an ambulance to the ER immediately.

If You Feel Immediate Pain or Discomfort

If you feel pain or discomfort, you should visit your doctor’s office as soon as possible. When you call, be sure to describe your symptoms to the office and let them know you were in an accident. If they believe your symptoms may be urgent, they will direct you to visit the ER instead of their office.

There are some other important side effects you should be aware of. These side effects can be signs of a bigger problem. If you experience them, contact your primary physician or local emergency number as soon as possible:

  • Lethargic or sleeping a lot after a car accident: a potential symptom of a brain or head injury
  • Chills after a car accident: could be caused by a neck, back, or nervous system injury
  • Delayed pain after injury increasing: soreness and pain should gradually decrease, not increase. Increasing pain could be a sign of internal injury

If You Don’t Feel Any Immediate Pain or Discomfort

You might feel like you don’t need to make seeing the doctor a priority if you aren’t feeling any pain, but that is not necessarily true.

The best advice is to visit your doctor within a few days, at most. If you mention that you were recently in an accident when you call to make the appointment, most doctor’s offices will prioritize your visit and give you a full workup to check for any hidden injuries.

"If you plan to file a personal injury claim because of your car accident then you need to get treatment right away - every day that you delay hurts your case."
Marc J. Shuman - Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

Injuries can appear days, weeks, or even months after an injury. This means you might not know you want to file a claim until much later than the accident. If you visit a doctor at the time of the accident as well as when your injury first appears, you’ll have a better chance of proving the cause of those injuries.

What Kind of Doctor Should I See After A Car Accident?

What Doctor Should I See After A Car Accident?

One of the biggest questions people have is what kind of doctor they should go see after a car accident. Believe it or not, there isn’t a specialist for medical treatment after a car accident!

Most people will visit their general doctor to get an idea of what injuries they have going on. If you don’t currently have a primary physician, you can visit a local express health center instead. There aren’t any strict guidelines about what type of doctor to see.

However, if you’re in pain then don’t wait for an appointment – go to the ER if you are dealing with severe and urgent medical needs. Even without medical insurance, you need to prioritize your health. Any personal injury claim you make will be set up to pay your medical bills.

Do What Your Doctor Says & Don’t Miss Any Appointments

After you see a doctor, they’ll likely recommend a specific treatment plan for dealing with any injuries and preventing any future pain from developing. Not only will following through with your treatment plan ensure your body is in good shape, but it will also ensure your injuries are properly documented from start to finish.

This will be important if you decide to file a car accident injury claim. If you skip appointments then the insurance company will argue that you weren’t that injured and it will effect your overall settlement. Be sure to ask your doctor for copies of all treatment documents throughout the process. Once you’ve signed on with our team, we will work directly with your doctor to get your records so you won’t have to worry about that.

Common Injuries After a Car Accident 

Are you unsure what to expect physically after a car accident? Many people have questions about what they might feel long term. The answer is – it depends…

Common Ailments After Car Accidents

Do you feel some type of pain after a car accident? Accident injuries can be scary, and they affect everyone differently.

These are some of the most common injuries medical professionals treat after car accidents:

  • Head injuries, such as concussions
  • Facial injuries such as scrapes, cuts, and broken bones
  • Neck injuries, such as whiplash and vertebrae dislocation
  • Collarbone and rib injuries, such as broken bones
  • Back injuries, such as muscle tears, pain, and spinal cord problems
  • Internal injuries
  • Leg injuries, such as muscle tears and broken bones
  • Psychological injuries, such as PTSD and anxiety

There is no single timeline for the treatment of each of these issues. Some things may heal in a few short weeks with minimal treatment, while other issues may require surgery. Back injury symptoms after a car accident, for instance, can take anywhere from two weeks to multiple years to properly treat depending on the severity.

How To Take Care Of Yourself After A Car Accident + During Recovery

After you’ve been through a car accident, you are probably still feeling shaken up. Many people wonder: how do I know if I am ok after a car accident?

Create a Daily Checklist to Take Back Some Control

Here’s what you can do to relieve some of the fears you are feeling after your accident. Make a daily monitoring checklist!

By writing up a simple checklist, you can monitor your condition and act logically. Whether or not you’ve seen a doctor, making sure you are feeling 100% after an accident is key.

Here are some ideas of what to include on your checklist:

  • Sleep at least 8 hours, preferably more
  • Drink more than 24 ounces of water
  • Do simple stretches
  • Take a bath, if possible
  • Check your body for any bruising, pain, injuries, etc.
  • Start exercise and physical activity gradually
  • Consider your mental health

If you feel physical pain, it is important you visit a doctor as soon as possible. Even slight pain could be a sign of a larger issue, and it is always better to act with caution.

Slow & Steady

In addition to knowing what you should do to take care of yourself after a car accident, it is also important to know what you should not do after a car accident.

Working out after a car accident is possible, but you need to make sure you are taking it slow. Gradually work your way back up to your pre-accident routine. If you have seen a doctor, make sure to follow their guidance about physical activity as well.

Additionally, doing stretches for your limbs and affected body parts can be very helpful in the recovery process. Your body needs to recover, and stretching helps this process occur more effectively.

Get Help

If you didn’t go to a doctor after a car accident and you are still worried about potential injuries, it is time to make an appointment. Even if you feel ok, going to visit the doctor will be good for your mental health. Don’t keep worrying about the what-ifs; visit a doctor to calm your worries.

For many people, talking to a doctor or therapist after a car accident may help them feel better. Trauma caused in a crash can cause both mental and physical damage; get help from any type of doctor that you might need if you have not been able to manage the stress. You are not alone in this battle!

How Long You Have to File an Injury Claim in Illinois

If you are dealing with injuries you didn’t notice at first after an accident, you’re probably feeling very stressed and afraid. It can be hard to know what to do at every stage of dealing with an incident like this.

While it is always better to seek treatment and compensation for your injuries as early as possible, you can always find help.

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Claim An Injury?

Many people wonder how long you have to report an injury after a car accident. In the state of Illinois, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim officially ends after two years when it comes to car accidents. However, if you don’t get treatment within the first week then you’ve severely damaged your case

While claims can be filed for up to two years in most cases, evidence that directly links your injury to a crash is easier to prove if you visited a doctor shortly after the crash or as soon as your injury appeared.

Injuries can appear days, weeks, or even months after an injury. This means you might not know you want to file a claim until much later than the accident. If you visit a doctor at the time of the accident as well as when your injury first appears, you’ll have a better chance of proving the cause of those injuries.

What is the first thing you should do if there is an accident?

If there is an accident, the first thing you should do is call the police.

What should you not do in a car accident?

If you are in a car accident, you should not leave the scene of the accident. You should also not try to hide any evidence that may be used against you in court.

What happens if you don't report an accident within 24 hours?

If you don‘t report an accident within 24 hours, you could face a fine or jail time.

Do I have to report a car accident?

No, you do not have to report a car accident, but it is always best to err on the side of caution and report it anyway.

How long do I have to report an accident?

If you are in an accident, you should report it to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most insurance companies have a 24hour hotline that you can call to report an accident.

Does a police report automatically go to insurance?

There is no certain answer to this question as it varies from insurance company to insurance company. Some insurance companies may require that a police report be filed in order for them to process a claim, while others may not. It is best to check with your insurance company to see what their specific requirements are.

Can I take a nap after a car accident?

If you have been involved in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine. Once you have been cleared by a medical professional, you can take a nap if you feel tired.

Do you have to go through insurance after minor accident?

No, you do not have to go through insurance after a minor accident. You can choose to pay for the repairs yourself or file a claim with your insurance company.

What if I don't tell my insurance about an accident?

If you don‘t tell your insurer about an accident, you may be violating the terms of your insurance policy. This could lead to your insurance policy being canceled or not covering you in the event of a claim.

How long do you have to report a car accident to the police?

If you‘re in an accident, you should report it to the police as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the accident, the police may come to the scene or you may need to go to the station to file a report.

Is failing to report an accident a criminal offence?

Yes, failing to report an accident is a criminal offense. If you are involved in an accident, you are required by law to stop and report the accident to the police. Failing to do so can result in a fine or imprisonment.

Can you report a car accident at any police station?

If you have been in a car accident, you can report it at any police station. The police will take a report and may investigate the accident.

How long after an accident can you claim from insurance?

If you are in an accident, you can claim from insurance immediately. However, if you want to claim for damage to your car, you will need to wait until the accident has been investigated and a report has been filed.

How do I make an accident report?

If you are involved in an accident, you will need to file an accident report. This report will document the details of the accident, including any injuries or damages that were sustained. To file an accident report, you will need to contact the police or your insurance company.

Do insurance companies check with police?

Many insurance companies do not check with the police when a person applies for insurance. However, some insurance companies may check with the police if the person has been convicted of a crime.

Is it better to pay out of pocket or use insurance?

There are pros and cons to both paying out of pocket and using insurance. If you have insurance, you may have to pay a deductible before your insurance starts paying, but you will likely have a lower overall cost. If you pay out of pocket, you will have to pay the full cost upfront, but you may be able to negotiate a lower price.

What happens if you have an accident and you don't have enough money to pay for an accident?

If you have an accident and you don‘t have enough money to pay for it, you may have to pay for the damages yourself. If the accident was your fault, your insurance company may not pay for the damages. You may also be sued by the other person involved in the accident.

Can someone claim on your insurance without you knowing?

This is possible if the person is a named driver on your policy. If they have an accident and make a claim, it will affect your no claims bonus and could push up your premiums at renewal.

Do you go to jail if you hit someone with a car?

If you hit someone with a car, you may go to jail. The severity of the offense will determine whether or not you go to jail. If the person you hit with your car is seriously injured or killed, you will more than likely go to jail.

Can an insurance company refuse to pay a claim?

Yes, an insurance company can refuse to pay a claim. If the insurance company believes that the claim is not valid, or if the policyholder has not paid their premium, the company can refuse to pay the claim. If the insurance company believes that the claim is not covered by the policy, they can also refuse to pay.

Who is responsible for making accident reports?

The person responsible for making an accident report is typically the person who witnessed the accident.

Take Action 

Rather than allowing yourself to worry unnecessarily about a potential injury, it’s better to take action. Visit a doctor after an accident, even if you feel OK, just to be sure. You will have this visit on record, and you will also have a baseline that the doctor can monitor to ensure you are healthy through the coming weeks.

We specialize in the Chicago area as car accident lawyers and we are here to help you. Contact us today to see how we can help you get the justice you deserve.


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