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Should I Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident? 

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Exterior of a building with a sign reading "Hospital"

Yes, you should go to the hospital if you have been involved in a car accident—even if your injuries seem minor. Failing to receive adequate medical attention can lead to long-term health problems, expenses, and limited legal recourse. 

Top 5 Reasons to Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident in Florida 

A three-car accident with an emergency services vehicle behind

1. It likely won’t cost as much as you think. 

A doctor reviewing an xray of a patient's chest and spinal cord

Car insurance is the first to kick in, typically covering up to 80% of the cost of your medical care. If you have health insurance, the hospital will bill your health care provider for the remainder.  

If you do not have health insurance, the at-fault driver can be liable for paying your hospital bill.  

When there are concerns about how to pay for your accident injuries and losses, a free consultation with a Florida car accident lawyer can help.  

2. Get your questions answered and put your mind at ease. 

Open door to an operating room in a hospital where surgeons are working

Hospital professionals are specially trained to handle traumatic injuries, fractures, soft tissue damage, and concussions common to car accidents. Without this same level of understanding, primary care physicians often have to refer patients to specialists, which can further delay treatment. It’s best to see ER specialists right away and get answers to questions like: 

  • What type of injury do I have? 
  • What is the treatment plan? 
  • How long should I take off work? 
  • Might there be any long-term effects of my injuries? 
  • What should I do to care for myself at home and heal optimally? 

3. Your injuries might require some time off work.  

A person with a blue cast and blue crutches sitting on the couch using a laptop

Most people return to work within a month of a car accident, but serious injuries may require more time. Documentation that establishes the initial cause of injury can be important in these cases so your auto insurance provider can compensate you for up to 60% of lost wages, up to $10,000.  

Hospital records can also help protect your rights by validating your claim so you are not fired or discriminated against by your employer. When you do return to work, you may have a limited ability to perform some of your job duties, which your medical records will indicate. 

4. You may have sustained hidden auto accident injuries. 

A doctor explaining lumbar anatomy to a spinal cord injury patient

Have you ever watched a football game where players grit through the match but end up off the roster for weeks due to injury immediately thereafter? The adrenaline rushing through their bodies can mask the pain for hours after injury occurs — and the same is true in a car accident.  

It’s hard to know what to expect physically after a car accident as every accident and body is different. While some injuries — like excessive bleeding, difficulty breathing, or paralysis— may be obvious, many accident injuries are not.  

Car accident injuries that show up later may include: 

  • Abdominal pain and swelling — Internal bleeding is a common culprit behind deep purple bruising, dizziness, and fainting. It can persist undetected for hours or days before becoming a life-threatening condition. 
  • Back pain — Low back pain is found in more than half of rear-impact collisions and three-quarters of side impact crashes. Damage to the muscles, ligaments, nerves, and vertebrae often worsen over time. 
  • Broken bones – A broken arm or leg bone is typically obvious, but a skull fracture or minor cracks in the ribs, metatarsal bones, and vertebrae may cause only a strange sensation of warm-and-cold or a slight pain at first.   
  • Concussions – Think you’ve just got a headache? Chances are, it’s a concussion. It could also be a sign of a blood clot on the brain, so it’s best to get that headache checked out. Concussions cause symptoms like blurry vision, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. In severe cases, concussions accompany traumatic brain injuries. Car accidents are the third-leading cause of issues with memory, movement, cognition, vision, hearing, insomnia, and personality changes that appear weeks after a crash.  
  • Neck and spine injuries – Even a minor collision can damage tendons, ligaments, nerves, or discs. Most whiplash cases occur with collisions at speeds under 15 mph. Numbness, tingling, stiffness, spasms, pain, and loss of mobility are common symptoms.  
  • PTSD — You may have vivid nightmare and disturbing flashback memories of the event. You may find you become extremely anxious in the car or unable to go about your usual routines.  

5. You may need this important documentation for your injury claim. 

Two people shaking hands in a law office

To file a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim, Florida requires drivers to seek medical care within two weeks of an accident. Failure to comply with the PIP rule could hurt your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and even the cost of hiring a personal injury attorney if you decide to file a claim against the other driver.  

Even if you don’t need significant treatment right away, ER medical professionals can make recommendations for follow-up care. You should keep all bills, receipts, prescriptions, a record of your appointments and physical therapies, and a pain journal just in case you ever need to pursue legal action to cover expensive long-term care.  

In addition to these valuable pieces of evidence, your lawyer may ask hospital medical providers to write a medical narrative or deposition that testifies to the nature of your injuries and helps establish a stronger personal injury claim. 

Not sure what to do after a car accident or when to get an attorney for a car accident? It’s never too soon to find legal counsel you trust to help you navigate the maze of treatment, insurance options, and liability issues that may arise in the weeks and months following a collision. Consultation with Kogan & DiSalvo is always free.  

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