The most important thing is you’re going to have more options if you take care of the issues as soon as they arise. This ties in to issues concerning a delay in treatment. Granted, right now we’re talking about an ideal world and everybody knows we don’t live in an ideal world. Although we prefer that all of our clients obtain treatment as soon as possible after they think they may have been hurt, we understand that’s not reality, and that sometimes you don’t know you’ve been hurt until a few days later.
If your back doesn’t start hurting until 3-5 days after an accident, then it’s important to seek medical care as soon as it does and make sure that you tell the doctors that you were in an accident. That’s something that people don’t realize because most people don’t spend all day thinking about what’s in their medical records, but a doctor can only provide treatment based upon the history that you provide the doctor with and the symptoms about which you complain.
So if you walk in and say “my back’s hurting real badly,” but you don’t tell the doctor that you were in an accident several days ago, how’s the doctor going to know to relate your injuries to a car accident? What is important, from a legal standpoint, is that their record says how you were injured.
Most doctors will ask as part of their examination if you have had any recent trauma, but always be sure to let your doctor know that you were injured in an accident. Now if the records say “patient in office today, complains of onset of back pain 3 days after auto accident,” at least it’s there and it says that there was an accident.
Now compare that with you just walking to the doctor. You know you’ve been in an accident, but you only tell the doctor “my back hurt this morning when I woke up.” In that case, if they don’t have that history from you, the doctor may not get it from anywhere else, and then the records may not show the full extent of what your complaints were.
That’s something that seems so simple, but a lot of the time, it gets lost. You’ve got to be able to provide the full contact so that your healthcare providers not only provide you with the best care they can, but also so that things are accurately recorded in your records. Those are the two most important things. If it’s a situation where at first you thought you didn’t have any injuries, you didn’t call an attorney then go to the doctor, that’s fine, but you need to get the care as soon as you can. If you feel that you weren’t at fault, that someone else caused the accident and you’re starting to worry if someone else is responsible or should be responsible for the medical bills, it’s important to call an attorney as soon as you can. By getting medical treatment as soon as possible and contacting an attorney as soon as possible, you’re going to maximize the chances of your recovery and they’re going to do what they can to protect your rights at that point.