If you’ve incurred injuries on Florida roadways, it’s important to carefully document your injuries after a car accident. Having a clear record of your harm, how it occurred, doctor diagnoses, and required treatment will help you fight for a fair settlement when filing a claim with your insurance company. If your damages exceed Florida’s no-fault threshold and you’re considering bringing a personal injury civil suit, clear documentation about your injuries may persuade the court in your favor.
There are many steps to take to protect your rights if you’ve been injured in a car crash. Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer David I. Fuchs can help you understand the personal injury process following such an incident. To schedule a free consultation of your case, reach out through the online form.
Where Were You Treated?
When you go to the hospital after an accident, they will quickly assess your injury level and treat you appropriately. The hospital has many different departments where they offer various levels of treatment depending on need.
The first place you’ll likely end up after an accident is the emergency room. This is a place where doctors and nurses will assess your trauma and determine how much ongoing care you will need. They will evaluate the severity of your injuries and conduct additional tests like x-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, and other imaging.
Emergency departments often treat patients by severity level instead of on a first-come basis. Thus, the more severe your injuries, the quicker you will be seen.
ER care is often called “acute care” because it is an intensive level of care during which patients are treated for a brief but severe episode of their injury or illness.
If you are severely injured and need medical treatment while you recover, the ER may admit you to the hospital. Otherwise, you will be released with instructions to follow up with your primary care physician and other specialists.
Trauma Centers often have special units that treat patients who have suffered traumatic injuries, like those that are common in car wrecks and other accidents. They typically have a general surgeon and other specialists on staff and may even offer plastic surgery. Their goal would be to quickly treat acute severe injuries and then move patients into the general hospital population or release them to go home with instructions to follow up with their doctors.
If you suffer burns in an accident, you will likely be taken to a hospital with a burn center. The specialists in this unit have the knowledge to promote burn healing and reduce scarring. Some burns can be severe and affect a large part of the body. The more serious your burn, the longer you will have to stay at the hospital.
Intensive Care Unit
Another type of acute care where hospital medical providers offer intense treatment is the ICU. The ICU is used for patients who need 24/7 monitoring, and their condition is not yet considered stable. People do not usually stay in the ICU for long periods of time. The ICU’s goal is to get you into stable condition so you can be released to a regular treatment floor.
The ICU may also be called a critical care unit. Some specific kinds include neonatal intensive care units, pediatric intensive care units, and surgical intensive care units.
Specialty Care Units
If you go to the hospital with injuries that need to be treated by specialists, then you may need to be in a specialty care unit. Specialty care units may treat patients with cancer, heart conditions, or those who are pregnant. They are not usually acute care sections of the hospital but can still offer some of those services when necessary.
Non-Intensive Care Units
These units are often called “wards.” They make up the majority of beds in a hospital. They provide non-acute or transitional care. They may even offer long-term care for patients who need to recover for several weeks after an accident.
Although your injuries will not be life-threatening once you make it to the non-intensive care unit, the fact that you have to stay overnight at a hospital indicates that you were seriously hurt in the first place. You should follow doctors’ orders and do what is necessary to recover.
Documenting Your Injuries
When you’ve experienced an accident, your body may go into shock. Memories can become fuzzy over time, so it’s important to begin documenting your injuries and medical treatment as soon as possible. Doing so will help ensure you don’t forget any details of your injuries or treatment, which will benefit you in a settlement claim.
So just how do you document your injuries after a car accident? To ensure everything is thoroughly recorded, create an accident/injury file. It should contain details of what you remember about the actual accident and scene, your medical records, and a written pain/injury journal.
Detail the accident in writing.
As soon as possible following your car accident, write down or record every detail you remember about how it occurred, including how loud the crash sounded, how hard the impact seemed, and even the pain you felt during and immediately after the crash. If you were taken by ambulance from the scene, write that down, including anything you may remember the emergency responders saying about your condition.
Request copies of all ambulance paperwork, emergency room reports, hospital reports, doctor reports, and other medical information.
If you had X-rays taken that show injuries, ask for copies of those. You might also ask a friend or family member to photograph your injuries, especially if you have significant bruising, swelling, burns, lacerations, or other obvious injuries.
Write in an injury journal.
Record your pain level every day, or as often as you feel necessary depending on the severity of your injuries. You can use a scale to describe your pain. If your pain level changes throughout the day or week, record the changes. Describe the symptoms of your injury that are present. Include notes about how your injury and pain have impacted your quality of life. Note doctor’s appointments and appointments with other health care providers in your journal. Also, use the journal to keep track of injury-related medications you’re taking and when you’ve taken them.
Maintain an insurance file.
Keep a file containing all of your insurance paperwork related to the accident. Include notes about any discussions you have had with insurance company adjusters and other personnel.
Always See a Doctor
It’s important to note that you should always see a doctor following an accident, even if you don’t think you were injured. Sometimes concussions, whiplash, and other serious injuries such as internal bleeding or fractures may be present. Also, injuries requiring medical treatment may show up days, weeks, or even months following an accident. If you don’t have proof of your injuries or doctor visits, you may be out of luck should you need reimbursement for medical care down the road and want to file a claim.
Attorney David I. Fuchs Can Help You With a Claim
If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else and had to go to the hospital, you will likely wonder how to cover those bills. We can help by evaluating your case and helping you file an insurance claim or submit a lawsuit against the person at fault. Contact attorney David I. Fuchs today.