An accident victim who leaves the collision scene by ambulance has very little choice concerning medical options. Following any forceful collision, hospital evaluation is wise. However, please understand that hospital protocol is to determine whether any fractures or internal injuries have been suffered that would require ongoing hospitalization. Thus, most accident-related hospital visits are brief and result in discharge of the patient on the incident date. Careful review of your hospital discharge instructions will reveal the emergency room physicians’ referral to a specialist or their instruction that you report any ongoing symptoms or difficulties to your personal primary-care physician as soon as possible. Please do not be concerned if your hospital experience seemed brief or incomplete. Instead, follow the suggested path and make sure your personal care physicians deal with all injuries.
Traumatic injury arising from motor vehicle collisions can be terribly severe and disabling. However, in some cases, the early effects of injury are not severe. Some conditions are latent or progressive, causing symptoms that remain latent and then worsen over time. In every case where symptoms continue after several days, you should report as soon as possible to your family doctor who is most familiar with your overall health. Most family physicians deal with general health needs. Thus, if you have suffered any joint injury, nerve injury, internal injury, or fractures or bone injuries, your primary-care physician should refer you to a specialist who is best equipped to confront more serious injuries and restore your health.
Specialists will often refer you for additional related treatment within their own network of treatment providers. For example, orthopedic surgeons confronting herniated disks or spinal injury will often refer the patient for clinical physical therapy. You should follow this path carefully and attend all recommended clinical visits. This will allow you the best chance of a complete recovery. Also, you will avoid insurance adjuster accusations that your injuries were not severe, that you were non-compliant with medical advice, and that you caused your own suffering.
Please understand that doctors typically rely on you to determine whether their ongoing medical assistance is needed. If they do not hear from you, they will assume that their past care was sufficient to eliminate all symptoms. If you do not need further medical treatment, you certainly should not waste time and resources seeking unnecessary medical care. However, the more common errors for accident victims are failing to report all symptoms and to follow doctors’ advice. Since the medical care will be the financial responsibility of the drivers and insurance carriers who owe for your injury claims, your medical care will ultimately be free of charge. Please protect your health and follow all directions and suggestions offered by your medical team.