A frequent theme running through many of the articles in the volumes is the absolute need for prompt, competent medical attention immediately after any accident. My standing advice to everyone who finds themselves in this predicament is to immediately go from the accident scene to a medical provider if you are injured in a car accident or any other injury-causing event. This is common sense advice but tinged with some perhaps practical, and legal, consequences. There is simply no scenario where this does not make sense. Prompt medical attention after an accident will ensure that you receive a medical opinion and diagnosis of any bodily injury. Not insignificantly, other, perhaps more serious injuries may be ruled out. If treatment is required, your body can begin the process of recovery and recuperation.
Some injuries are obvious, some are more subtle. Motor vehicle collisions and car crashes can be violent events. The body's stress reactions are in high gear. The adrenaline is flowing. I've heard clients relate that they were in “shock” after a car wreck. Although this reaction might not meet the medical definition of ‘shock” the feelings of disbelief, anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty are conveyed by the colloquial use of the term. Moreover, any time head trauma is involved, perception, focus, and ability to comprehend and appreciate might be altered on a temporary basis. For a variety of physical reasons, a real injury might immediately be appreciated.
I've represented thousands of people over the years who have sustained neck and back injuries in car accidents who have said, unequivocally, that the pain, stiffness, loss of range of motion, and tenderness in their neck and back did not manifest for hours and sometimes even days after the accident.
In any of these scenarios, which I have characterized as situations in which one “may” have been hurt during a motor vehicle accident prompt medical care and attendance are the recommended course of action. Once you have secured a medical evaluation for yourself or any loved ones involved, a call to an experienced personal injury attorney is the next order of business. I've had countless people over the years call me from emergency rooms, waiting rooms while filling out paperwork, and from urgent care facilities. Certainly, immediately seeking out seasoned counsel is vital anytime there is an unfortunate junction of an accident and personal injury. Getting an attorney involved immediately after an injury-causing event, can have significant advantages. He or she can:
- begin to preserve and collect vital evidence for the claim
- notify important participants and insurance companies, and
- when liability is in dispute, quickly commence a thorough liability investigation.