The full extent of your injuries is often not obvious immediately after a collision. Some people
may feel that they can tough it out and will feel better later. Lots of folks believe if they did not sustain a serious injury with bones and blood, they will heal up just fine without treatment. What these “tough guys” frequently discover weeks or months later is that what they initially thought was a minor injury has worsened and now requires significant medical treatment. Because of this possibility, one of the things you should do after an accident is see a doctor (whether at the hospital emergency room, your regular physician or a local “doc in the box”) for a full evaluation. Depending on the type of injury, it may be best to consult with a specialist. Be certain to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, no matter how minor they may seem. Again, you should see this doctor as soon as possible after your accident, so the doctor can properly document the full extent of your injuries. This documentation is important because it creates a clear record of your injuries and treatment, which is essential in the event you later have a legal claim. Experience teaches us that no piece of paper in a claim is more important than accurate, complete medical records.
Immediately after the injury it may be difficult even for the most experienced doctor to tell you how long you will require medical treatment. Depending on your condition, you may need follow-up care for the first few weeks or months after you leave the hospital. For some extremely serious injuries, you may need long-term or even lifelong care. Because it is often difficult to predict your needs early in a case, it is important for you to be vigilant about your health. If you notice a change in your symptoms, you should be certain to tell your doctor about it. You should also, of course, actively participate in your own recovery by following your doctor’s orders, taking your medications and undergoing whatever rehabilitation or treatment your doctor recommends.