After An Accident Who Should I Call First -A Lawyer Or A Doctor?
A frequent theme running through many of the articles in this library 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. If there is a scenario where an individual involved in an accident is not entitled to an evaluation for injury by a competent medical professional, I have yet to see it. Indeed, that notion forms the basis of a well-known and often used insurance company argument. Here, the skilled lawyers the insurance industry uses will suggest to a jury that yes, everyone is entitled to an evaluation, and actually encourage the jurors to order the defendant to pay that initial medical bill - because everyone is entitled to it. But from there, the effective insurance company lawyer argues that any treatment beyond that initial visit is "unreasonable" or "unnecessary". The argument has some appeal. It allows the perception of the insurance company appearing reasonable, when it reality, their position might be anything but.
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.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 12/18/20.