You did everything else right.
You filed the police report, exchanged information, and told your insurance company about the crash but in your rush to get on with your life, you forgot to schedule a doctor’s appointment or you didn’t think it was necessary.
Now a few weeks have passed and you have persistent aches and pains. Is it too late?
If you’re in a car accident you need to see the doctor, even if nothing hurts. Everybody says it, but it’s easier said than done. The fact is that it’s common for drivers to leave the scene without further follow-up after the crash, and you may not diagnose an injury on time if you don’t.
It’s easy to overlook an injury at the time of the incident: stress and adrenaline levels are high and most drivers are anxious to leave the crash site to get wherever you were going. You may not immediately notice if a muscle or joint was pulled or extended in the heat of the moment.
Get a medical opinion
Even if time has passed, you need to seek medical help. Even if it’s late, step one is to visit the doctor. If your injury is crash related, your doctor can make a diagnosis and begin your treatment toward feeling better. Along with recovery, the doctor’s diagnosis is needed proof of your case. Measuring pain and suffering is impossible without the medical documentation. Also, if you have missed any time from work as a result of the accident be sure to track that. In addition to your doctor’s visit, you’ll want to show how it’s affected your daily living. Any over the counter medical supplies you’ve purchased can be noted, such as a brace or pain relievers, so keep any receipts to show that it’s been an ongoing concern.
Statute of limitations
In Washington the statute of limitations for a car accident injury is three years, meaning there is time to make a claim even if the calendar has turned. Without clear medical records, however, the case will be more difficult. Proving even a small claim is hard without a prompt doctor’s report. Your insurance company is likely to say the injury occurred during the lapsed time between your accident and your medical check-up instead, and may only offer a minimal settlement (if at all).
Personal injury attorneys specialize in these matters and can provide greater insight into your case. They are experienced at determining fault by examining road conditions, police reports and medical analysis and knowing what evidence will stand with the judge.
Visiting a doctor is always recommended immediately after a crash but, if you miss that step, it doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to reimbursement for your injuries. Instead, it means a lawyer’s expertise is even more essential to proving what really happened and getting you moving on the road to recovery.