The #1 Mistake After an Injury: Not Seeking Medical Care

Portland personal injury attorneys are advising people that not seeing a doctor after a motor vehicle accident could mean even bigger trouble paying medical bills than if they went to the doctor right away.

The sad fact is, too many people make the mistake of not seeing a physician within three days of being involved in an automobile accident, and there may be a number of reasons for this.

  • The economic downturn has resulted in fewer people going to their doctors in an effort to save money.
  • Some people think they haven’t really been injured badly enough to warrant seeing a physician.
  • Still others display what is known as the “John Wayne” syndrome. They feel they are too tough to have been injured in a fender bender. Even if they feel aches, pains, headaches and dizziness, these people frequently tell friends and family they are fine or maybe just a bit “shaken up.”

It’s a big, costly mistake

Not seeing a physician as soon as possible after being in an auto accident is a serious mistake. Those that opt to “tough it out” may end up having serious trouble paying their medical bills if and when they ultimately face reality and go see a doctor.

When all is said and done, there are two major reasons accident victims should make a trip to their health care provider their number one priority after the accident.

  1. The first and most important reason is that by delaying a trip to an experienced health care provider, an accident victim could be unwittingly contributing to serious and long-term damage to their well being. Minor symptoms such as aches, pains, dizziness, stiffness, sudden mood swings, etc., could all be indicative of everything from soft tissue damage to a serious brain injury.
  2. The second reason an accident victim should get to a doctor as soon as possible is because by delaying getting treatment, they could seriously affect—in a negative way—the amount of money an insurance company will pay them as compensation in the event of a claim.

Insurance companies use specialized software to determine offers of compensation. Victims who do not want to have trouble paying their medical bills after an Oregon accident should be aware that these insurance companies are in business to make profit.

A delay in getting medical treatment after an accident is one of the main factors in this computer software for drastically reducing the amount of compensation offered. This is an indisputable fact, and once the software program comes up with a number, it is difficult in the extreme to get an insurance company to raise that figure, regardless of the strength of your case or the severity of your injuries.

Take no more than 72 hours

An insurance company will feed as much accident data into their specialized software as they can. One of the very first things they’ll want to know is whether or not the accident victim sought medical help within the first three days immediately after the accident.

If you have taken the sensible approach and seen a physician within 72 hours of the accident, the computer software program will recognize this fact and will automatically add what is known as a “value driver” to your claim. Certainly it is the case that other value drivers will come into play, and some of them will be larger than the 72-hour factor, but the most important value driver to have on your file, according to Portland auto accident attorneys, is that which involves the speed with which you sought medical help.

The Medical Care Provider Doesn’t have to be an MD

There are a number of ways to ensure you don’t receive a reduced settlement offer due to a delay in treatment. You may have to be more insistent with your normal physician than would normally be the case, but any of the following will suffice:

  • Ideally, try to see your own M.D. Call the office and advise them that you’ve been in an accident and need to see your doctor right away. If necessary, insist on seeing them the same day.
  • Go to an urgent care or accident and emergency facility. The record will show that you attended, and this will stand in your favor when it comes time to file a claim. Even if you don’t have insurance, an accident and emergency facility must see you, examine you and keep records of your visit.
  • Find a chiropractor. That insurance company software will recognize a chiropractor as a qualified physician, so if you can’t get to your own doctor or an accident and emergency facility, see a chiropractor and allow them to examine you. Many people avoid chiropractors out of fear that they will attempt to manipulate your spine or perform some other procedure. In fact, most would never do this on a first visit, but they will examine you and maybe take an X-ray, and once there’s a record of your visit, it will suffice as far as the insurance company is concerned.

As well as satisfying insurance company requirements, you could very well be sparing yourself a much longer and more painful rehabilitation than would otherwise have been necessary. The earlier a problem is spotted, the easier it is to prescribe a course of treatment and to begin rehabilitation.

Accidents are traumatic at the best of times, but if you don’t want to have trouble paying your medical bills after an Oregon motor vehicle accident, then you should make sure to see a physician within 72 hours of that accident taking place. Failure to do so could affect you both physically and financially.

After you’ve seen a qualified physician, your next step should be to contact a qualified and experienced Portland personal injury attorney. They know how the insurance companies operate, and they can give you excellent advice on how to proceed with a personal injury claim. They will guide you through what can be the complicated process of getting the compensation you deserve and which you will need to pay the medical expenses that came about as the result of another driver’s negligence.