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Should I Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?

If you have been involved in a an SUV or car accident in the Tampa Bay area call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez at 813-755-9500
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Before you go to the hospital, there are a few things you need to know about going to the Emergency Room after an auto accident, specifically, cost and customer service. Of course, if you feel like you really should go, or more importantly, emergency personnel are telling you to go, then go. These include, but are not limited to, you are bleeding, hit your head, or if you broke a bone.

Should I go to the ER after an auto accident?

While driving is convenient and necessary in Tampa, Florida, there is an inherent risk every time you get behind the wheel that you will end up in the ER after a car accident. But more often than not, a trip to a doctor or urgent care is sufficient. More importantly, if you get to urgent care, you will likely see a doctor within 5 minutes. If the doctor believes you need to go to the Emergency Room after the evaluation, he or she can call it in and get you seen in the ER faster than if you went in on your own! Why? Because there were approximately 139 million emergency room department visits in 2017 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many of them were not truly emergencies.

Should I see a doctor if I am injured in a car accident?

It is imperative that you get the medical attention you need for your injuries, even whiplash, after a car accident. This is especially true when you have been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault because of Florida’s 14-day rule. Florida drivers involved in an accident are afforded minimum coverage for medical care, regardless of which driver is at fault. This is Florida’s No-Fault law and this law dictates that your automobile insurance provider is required to offer minimum coverage for medical care, regardless of which driver was at fault. While the most seriously injured accident victims are rushed to the emergency room from the accident scene, others do not know whether their injuries are ‘serious enough’ to warrant a visit.

My question to clients that are unsure is: Do you feel the same physically today as you did the day before the accident? If the answer is ‘yes’ then do not go to the doctor. If your answer is ‘no,’ then get checked out. Go to a walk-in clinic, your primary care physician or a doctor specializes in auto accidents.

Is there a good reason to go to the Emergency Room after a car accident?

After a car accident, there are two good reasons for going to the emergency room among many others:

First, if you hit your head, you are bleeding, or you broke a bone, you are likely unclear about the seriousness of your injuries. If you feel particularly bad or are in excruciating pain, then go to the ER. And while many accident victims do not initially recognize all the ways they have been injured due to adrenaline from the accident, many others think that they ‘must’ go to the ER after an accident or that it will actually improve their claim if they went to the ER. This is not true. However, in many cases visiting an emergency room uncovers additional injuries even when your injury seems minor. Finding them early on can prevent worsening and later help you substantiate assertions made in pursuit of a personal injury claim. Thus, it is important that you get checked out immediately after an accident.

You probably won’t ever think your injuries are ‘that bad’ even if you believe you are injured. Anyone who has ever visited or even heard of visiting an emergency room knows that this can be a frustrating experience typically filled with delays before finally being seen. Go to the Emergency Room on a busy Friday night and you can be there for 8 to 10 hours when you could have been seen by a doctor at an urgent care and home resting by now. But don’t delay seeing a doctor if you are injured as delaying medical treatment is one of the main factors insurance companies consider when making an offer of settlement as is the cost of the medical bills.

While you shouldn’t head to the emergency room just to get a higher settlement, you also shouldn’t hesitate to go if you have legitimate concerns about your post-accident health.

5 Things You Need to Know About Going to the Emergency Room After an Accident

Here are 5 things you should know about going to the Emergency room after an accident:

After a car accident in which you are injured, many times you will end up in the emergency room. Emergency rooms serve a vital function by providing care and injury assessment early on after a collision. Many people have a misunderstanding about what being ‘discharged’ by the emergency room means.

  1. The Medical Professionals Will Determine if the Injury is Life-Threatening

Emergency rooms act as triage trying to determine the severity of the injury soon. Emergency rooms are not designed to render ongoing care except in the most serious of cases where immediate surgery is required, or the condition is life-threatening.

If your injury is not deemed life-threatening or require immediate treatment, you will likely be discharged with instructions to follow up with your primary care doctor or a specialist. The biggest mistake personal injury attorneys see is the injured not taking action to receive needed follow-up treatment after being discharged from the emergency room after an accident. The injured party believes that this is just ‘whiplash’ and it’ll somehow go away. It usually won’t ‘just go away’ but will likely require ongoing treatment or therapy.

  1. Fill out the paperwork correctly

When you are first transported to the hospital, you will be given many forms voluminous to sign to receive the treatment you need. Be sure to circle or check every part of your body that is different today than it was the day before the accident.

  1. The Hospital Charges Will Be High – Very High

In Florida, hospitals are given the opportunity to file a hospital lien. The hospital lien statute offers hospitals priority over you or other claimants from settlements from an accident. Unfortunately, many Florida hospitals have taken advantage of the power of the hospital lien and charge uninsured victims full rates that often are excessive. The good news is you or your car accident lawyer can often negotiate a reduction to excessive hospital charges. However, this is not always substantial.

This is important to keep in mind if you are on the border of ‘do I go or not go?’ We have seen ER visits where the doctors scan the entire body at upwards of $7,000 per CT Scan. FYI: We can get you a CT scan for $250.

  1. What the Nurse or Doctor Writes Down About the Accident Matters

Inevitably, a doctor, nurse or other medical professional will ask you questions about the crash. You should keep the response on how the accident happened short and concise. Statements such as ‘I was rear-ended’ or ‘he T-boned me’ are usually sufficient.

Doctors and nurses don’t care about the facts on the cause of the crash as they are there to treat your injuries. Unfortunately, if you give a lengthy account of what happened, it only increases the chances that a nurse will paraphrase your description to your detriment.

If the statement is in your medical records, you will end up living with it. Statements on the stand, like ‘I did not say that’ are seldom believed by a jury if the medical records say otherwise.

  1. Tell the Medical Providers Every Place It Hurts

It is human nature to focus on the areas that are the most painful. However, when being examined in the emergency room after an accident, you should mention every area of discomfort or pain even if it seems relatively insignificant. Case after case has proven items that are not the most painful early can prove chronic later and a problem later on.

If you do not mention an area of discomfort in your initial doctor visit, you can be assured the insurance company will dispute the later identified injury.

If you have been injured in a Tampa car accident, call Tampa injury lawyer Martin Hernandez at 813.755.9500

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