You may have just been slowing down before a traffic bottleneck when suddenly, you feel the jolt and realize that another driver just rear-ended you. Or you were exiting an off-ramp and someone sideswiped you because you were in their blind spot. You’re thankful you weren’t injured seriously, even though your car is a wreck.
Yet, should you refuse medical treatment at the scene? And what about if tomorrow, you wake up with serious back and neck pain? What do you do then?
At the scene
First, as a precaution, you should never refuse medical treatment at the scene. Having medical records that document your injury will help you in a claim with your insurance company and with the company that represents the driver who hit you.
If the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance, this is even more important.
After the accident
However, often symptoms of whiplash or other soft tissue injuries don’t occur right away. If you walked away from the accident with only minor cuts, you may end up with serious back and neck pain the next day or even the next week.
Going in for chiropractic care and physical therapy will get you feeling better sooner and prevent your injuries from getting worse. If your spine is not aligned, you can cause further muscle strain and pain, sometimes even making it hard for you to walk a few days later.
Many chiropractors also have massage therapists on staff who could help you relax those strained muscles and get you back to work sooner.
Also, seeking treatment right away will help your injury claim. Medical records showing your chiropractor's treatment plan or doctor's diagnosis can show how severe your injury was, bettering your chances of coverage in an insurance claim.
Even if it takes months for your injury to surface, seek medical care. It may be hard to believe, but California law gives you two years to file personal injury claim. If the injury wasn’t discovered right away, you have one year after the injury surfaced to file a claim.
Soft tissue injuries can hurt more than you anticipate. Seeking chiropractic care and medical care promptly, right after injury symptoms surface, is your best bet to heal your body and get the most from your insurance claim. If you feel you aggravated a pre-existing condition in an accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Proving a defendant liable for your injury in those cases is tricky and shouldn’t be done on your own.