Skip to content
Schedule Free Consultation
Call Today

​Why Do I Need a Medical Exam if I Feel Uninjured After a Car Accident?

Experts In This Article

If you were recently involved in a car accident, immediately seeking medical attention is crucial to your health—even if you don’t feel injured. Seemingly minor traffic collisions can cause injuries with a delayed onset of pain and symptoms, masking their severity.

Putting off medical care can adversely affect your prognosis, your legal rights, and your ability to recover compensation. Because of these risks, car accident lawyers recommend crash victims seek prompt medical attention after an accident, regardless of whether they feel pain or signs of injuries. Schedule a doctor’s appointment or visit the emergency room if you have not done so already.

What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?

Experience Lawyer for Car AccidentTaking the following steps after a car accident can protect your health and strengthen any eventual car accident claim:

  • Report the accident to law enforcement.
  • Notify your insurance provider.
  • Take photos of the damage to your car and any visible injuries you suffered.
  • Keep copies of bills, invoices, and receipts of expenses.
  • Gather your pay stubs or income statements if you take time off work to recover from the accident.
  • Start a diary or journal to document any pain or physical limitations you experience.

Most importantly, you should see a doctor or other healthcare professional as soon as possible after the car accident, even if you don’t feel any pain or other symptoms of injuries.

Many of the most common injuries associated with car accidents involve the head, neck, chest, and abdomen, which often have delayed symptoms. Next, you should contact a car accident lawyer who can advise you about your legal rights and the steps you should take after the crash.

Reasons Why You Should Get a Doctor Examination After a Car Accident

Seeing a doctor or healthcare provider immediately after a car accident has several essential benefits, which we’ll explore at length.

Documenting Your Injuries

First, undergoing a medical exam after a car accident means you have documentation of the injuries you suffered in the crash. Waiting until you experience pain or other symptoms leaves you with less persuasive evidence connecting your injuries to the car accident, especially if weeks have gone by. The more time between the car accident and when you seek medical attention, the harder it is to prove a causal link between the two.

Starting Treatment and Improving Your Prognosis

Seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident can also help your physical recovery. Promptly identifying the injuries you suffered in the crash means you can begin treatment and rehabilitation sooner, which can lead to a shorter recovery period.

Forgoing medical care also increases the risk of aggravating your injuries, potentially leading to longer-term impairment. The longer you wait to start treatment, the likelier it is that you will need more intensive care and the greater your risk of causing long-term or permanent damage.

Protecting Your Legal Options

Lastly, a prompt diagnosis of your car accident injuries will help protect your legal rights to recover compensation for those injuries. If you allow too much time to pass between the accident and when you seek medical care, you may give the insurance company a basis to argue that something other than the car accident caused your claimed injuries. However, if you obtain a diagnosis of your injuries right after the crash, you and your attorney can more persuasively argue that the accident caused those injuries.

Recommended read for you: Should I go to the doctor after a car accident?

How Soon After a Car Accident Should You Seek Medical Attention?

You should not delay getting examined by a medical professional after a car accident. If paramedics respond to the crash, do not refuse treatment. If paramedics didn’t come to the scene or you declined their treatment, go to a hospital or urgent care clinic or make an appointment to see your primary doctor as soon as possible. Ideally, undergo an exam on the same day as the accident or within a few days of it.

Common Delayed Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Car accidents often cause injuries that have delayed pain or symptoms.

Common delayed-symptom injuries from car crashes include:

  • Ligament sprains and tears
  • Muscle/tendon strains and tears
  • Whiplash injury
  • Nerve injury
  • Herniated spinal disc injury
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Hairline bone fractures
  • Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Psychological injuries such as PTSD

These are serious injuries that can have devastating consequences if not treated promptly. The sooner you get treatment, the better your prognosis.

Why Do People in Car Accidents Not Feel Hurt After the Crash?

People often do not feel pain or other symptoms of injuries immediately after a car accident because the shock of the crash can cause a rush of adrenaline and endorphins. The “fight-or-flight” response you may experience in a car accident also masks pain from injuries. Once the adrenaline and endorphins wear off in the hours and days following an accident, the injuries will begin to manifest themselves.

Some people who feel pain immediately after an accident ignore those symptoms, believing they are not serious and will eventually subside on their own. Instead, they only seek medical attention after days, weeks, or months without relief from the pain or symptoms. Unfortunately, they put both their health and their legal rights at risk by doing so.

Consequences of Not Seeking Medical Attention After a Car Accident

Delaying a medical examination after a car accident can have consequences for your health and your legal options, including the following.

The Insurance Company Might Reject Your Claim

Waiting to seek medical treatment after a car accident can jeopardize the success of any insurance claims you file. For example, Florida law requires you to seek treatment within two weeks of a car accident to maintain your eligibility for personal injury protection benefits from your car insurance. If you see a doctor more than two weeks after the crash, your insurer can deny your PIP benefits claim.

Insurance companies may also deny a PIP or bodily injury liability claim if you wait to seek treatment based on their argument that something other than the car accident caused your injuries. The insurer might argue that another accident or trauma you experienced after the car crash is to blame for your injuries. Or the insurer may claim that you have pre-existing conditions that caused your injuries or that your injuries resulted from degenerative changes rather than the trauma of the car accident.

You May Receive Reduced Compensation

Delaying medical attention after a car accident may reduce the amount of money you recover through a car accident claim. Weaker evidence linking your injuries to the car accident gives the insurance company an excuse to offer you a smaller settlement. The insurance company may also refuse to compensate you for medical treatments because your delay in seeking medical attention worsened your injuries and required you to undergo more expensive treatment.

You Might Worsen Your Injuries

Finally, putting off going to the hospital or doctor’s office after a car accident may lead to you making your accident injuries worse. You may cause further damage by continuing to use injured parts of your body. For example, you could worsen a ligament sprain or tendon strain of which you are unaware by continuing to go about your usual routine.

Aggravating car accident injuries may increase the duration of your medical recovery, require you to undergo more intensive treatment, or cause you to suffer permanent damage or disability.

Where Should I Go for a Medical Exam After a Car Accident?

You may have several options for medical attention immediately after a car accident. First, paramedics may respond to the accident scene if you or someone else calls 911 or reports the accident to the police. Paramedics can check your physical condition and may recommend you go to the hospital if they observe any signs of injury.

Even if paramedics do not believe you suffered serious injuries, you should still go to an urgent care facility. Doctors and physician assistants there have access to more advanced diagnostic equipment and can give you a more thorough examination.

You can also schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, which offers the benefit of getting examined by someone you know and who understands your medical history. Depending on the diagnostic equipment available at your doctor’s office, your physician may refer you to other clinics for further testing or recommend you go to the hospital.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Injuries if I Don’t Feel Hurt?

Medical professionals have the training and equipment to diagnose injuries that haven’t yet caused any pain or symptoms. Doctors will often begin a medical exam after a car accident by asking you to describe what happened in the crash and to discuss how you feel.

Healthcare providers will observe your behavior and how you respond to questions to look for signs of a possible brain injury or psychological trauma. Medical providers may conduct physical tests, including manipulating your arms and legs, having you perform different tasks, and applying pressure on various body parts to identify physical damage.

Doctors who suspect injuries like broken bones or soft tissue damage may have you undergo X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or ultrasounds. If your healthcare providers cannot identify any injuries, they may follow up with you after a few days or weeks to ask if you have experienced any new pain or symptoms.

What Happens if I Don’t Follow Through on My Doctor’s Treatment Recommendations?

If a doctor diagnoses injuries you suffered in a car accident, they will prepare a treatment plan. This plan may include surgeries, physical therapy, and regular check-ups. Don’t put off starting the recommended treatment. If you wait too long to undergo a recommended surgery or physical rehabilitation, your car accident injuries may worsen, and you may need different, more intensive treatment.

Delayed treatment may also affect your financial recovery in your car accident claim. The insurance company might argue that you failed to mitigate your losses by putting off medical treatment and letting your injuries worsen. As a result, the insurer may not agree to compensate you for the additional or more expensive treatment you need for injuries that have become more severe.

How a Lawyer Can Help You Protect Your Injury Claim After a Car Accident

Car Accident - Michael T. Gibson
Car Accident Attorney, Michael T. Gibson

Getting help from a car accident lawyer can also protect your rights to compensation for your injuries and losses.

A car accident attorney can help you secure financial recovery from an at-fault driver or insurance company by:

  • Thoroughly investigating the facts and circumstances of the crash and recovering evidence needed to build your legal case
  • Identifying liable parties and available insurance coverage
  • Discussing your legal options with you and preparing you for the claims process
  • Advising you about how to protect your rights and improve your chances of success in your compensation claim
  • Helping you obtain specialist medical care
  • Working with your treating providers and medical experts to develop a persuasive case to prove how the car accident caused your injuries
  • Filing your insurance and legal claims and dealing with insurance adjusters while you focus on your treatment
  • Pursuing the financial resources you need for your medical care through a settlement of your claims or by taking your case to court and trial

Remember, an attorney can do more to help your case if you hire them as soon after the accident as possible. Once you have received medical care, get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer.

Prompt Medical Attention After a Car Accident Will Improve Your Recovery and Preserve Your Rights To Seek Compensation

Don’t put off getting medical treatment after a car accident. Many injuries you might have suffered take days or weeks to begin causing pain or other symptoms. If you delay medical treatment too long, you risk worsening your injuries.

You may also jeopardize your rights to compensation in a car accident claim if you do not consult a personal injury attorney, since you may have weaker evidence tying your injuries to the accident and could have failed to mitigate your losses.

Prioritize getting a medical exam as soon as possible after a car accident to protect your health and financial recovery.

Are You in Need of Legal Assistance?

Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.

We know that accidents don’t always happen during business hours. That’s why our experienced lawyers are standing by, 24/7/365, to listen to your story, evaluate your claim, and help you decide what to do next. Call us now and we’ll see if we can pursue compensation for your injuries!

Call us for a free consultation today icon 407-422-4529