Getting medical attention after a car accident should be your top priority. That usually means going to the emergency room to be evaluated for injuries in most cases.
The CDC estimates 3.4 million emergency room visits related to motor vehicle collisions every year. While many car accident injuries are apparent, identifying and treating concussions, whiplash, and internal damage requires a trained ER staff. This could make the difference in healing, and early intervention is crucial to filing an insurance claim or pursuing a lawsuit.
Here’s when you should go to the emergency room after a being injured in a car accident, what to expect, and a few things to consider as you deal with an ER visit.
When to Take an Ambulance
The shock, trauma, and damage of a car accident can be incredible. In severe cases, the decision to go to the hospital is unavoidable, and your injuries will necessitate a trip to the ER via ambulance.
For example, if you are unconscious, sustained neck or head injuries, or have severe lacerations, an EMT or another first responder will determine the need for emergency medical attention. However, you should probably take an ambulance anyway if you are experiencing any of the following after a car wreck:
- Blurry vision
- Loss of any senses, including hearing or sight
- Bleeding from any wounds
- A pounding headache
- Suspected broken bones
Going to the ER After a Car Crash is Important
Postponing medical care can make conditions much worse. It’s not uncommon for your body to release adrenaline after a car accident. This can mask pain and injury symptoms. Eventually, the levels will drop, and the full physical toll of the collision will be felt. But the delay in getting treatment can make your recovery and the insurance process more difficult.
Regardless of how minor you believe your injuries are, it’s best to get an official diagnosis. The ER doctors, nurses, and other professionals will review the circumstances of the collision and conduct the appropriate physical tests.
A thorough examination can identify various injuries, including neck, back, shoulder, knee, hip, other orthopedic injuries, and sometimes life-threatening internal damage. As a result, you can more rapidly address and treat these injuries and accurately record your experiences soon after the crash.
Emergency Room Vs. Urgent Care
Nowadays, there are several options for getting medical care. Still, there are key differences in the type and level of medical care you receive at an emergency room and urgent care facility.
As its name suggests, a hospital’s emergency room is more equipped to treat emergencies related to car accidents, such as broken bones, bleeding, and severe trauma. For lesser injuries, like contusions and moderate pain, visiting an urgent care would be fitting.
Urgent cares generally have shorter wait times, whereas emergency rooms are high-traffic and often crowded. If someone comes in and needs more immediate attention, you will have to wait.
ERs are usually open 24 hours and while urgent care may be in more convenient locations, they typically have less flexible hours of operation. Since car accidents don’t always happen during business hours, an ER may be your best option.
Emergency Room Costs
The expense associated with getting medical care is a significant determent. However, visiting the emergency room after a car accident could save you money when you consider the cost of treating a more serious condition later.
If you have health insurance and PIP coverage, which is required in Florida, your visit may cost less than you think. Also, if another’s negligence caused your accident, you can recoup out-of-pocket losses through a personal injury claim.
Visiting the ER & What to Expect
When you first get to the emergency room, you’ll need to check-in and complete an intake form. Provide your name, insurance information, contact details, and as much about your accident and injury as possible.
When you’re called, a nurse will check your blood pressure and take your core vitals. The nurse may also conduct a medical history and start assessing your symptoms.
After the nurse collects some baseline info, a doctor will formally evaluate your injuries and order tests. This may involve X-rays, bloodwork, MRI scans, and a battery of physical checks. The doctor may issue some immediate treatment like an IV, prescribe medications, and determine the need for further care, like a, follow up-visit or surgery.
Document Your Emergency Room Visit
You may be admitted to the hospital or discharged with care instructions depending on your condition. In either case, keep all the forms and papers you receive. Your discharge papers and ongoing treatment plans will detail your injury and its severity, your general physical condition, and any limitations.
Also, keep track of any bills or invoices you receive. Even if your insurance covers most or all the cost, if you pay for medications or a specialist visit later, you’ll want documentation to be reimbursed.
Keep Up with Your Treatment
In the days, weeks, and possibly months after going to the ER for a car accident, you may need to follow up with your primary care physician and continue with a treatment plan for your injuries. This could mean physical therapy, taking prescribed medications, or scheduling surgery.
It’s easy to neglect your medical care, but it’s not wise. Most car accident injuries are manageable and generally curable if promptly and adequately treated. However, injuries can linger, exacerbate, and even lead to more serious conditions without proper care.
Continuing your medical care after getting hurt in a car accident not only protects your long-term health. It also has legal implications and may hurt your claim. By not seeking immediate medical attention after an accident or forgoing ongoing care, an insurance company could claim that your injuries were not that serious and could deny your claim.
Fort Lauderdale ER Facilities
If you are severely injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should go to the closest emergency room or urgent care.
Some nearby Broward County emergency rooms include:
- Broward Health North Emergency Room
- Holy Cross Health Emergency Room
- Steward Health Care System
- Kindred Hospital South – Ft. Lauderdale
- HCA Florida Westside Hospital Emergency Room
- Emergency Care at Plantation General Hospital
- Salah Foundation Children’s Hospital
- Broward Health Coral Springs Emergency Room
Go to the Emergency Room & Consult a Car Accident Attorney
After getting into a car accident and getting necessary medical care, the next logical step is filing an insurance claim and reviewing your legal options. By speaking to an experienced car accident lawyer, you can ensure your rights are respected and recover full and fair compensation.
For a free consultation with an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer, contact David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. We routinely assist clients with the medical documentation related to their car accident injuries and know how to pursue everything you deserve.
Call (954) 246-0789 or contact us online.