What Type Of Doctor Should I See After A Car Accident?
Car accidents more accurately called motor vehicle collisions (MVC), can cause injuries that range from “bumps and bruises” to life-threatening injuries. People often ask “What type of doctor should I see after a car accident?”. Regardless of how bad your injuries are, you need to see a doctor that can properly evaluate and treat you. Also, if another driver is at fault, it’s important to have a concise record of your injuries. This helps to ensure you receive adequate compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
What Type of Treatment Should I Get After a Car Accident?
The most important factor after a car accident is to make sure you do not have any underlying injuries. After a MVC, the spike in adrenaline after an accident can prevent people from sensing they’ve been injured. It can take days or even weeks for the severity of the injuries to to surface. A medical provider needs to examine you and help you get the treatment you need. The type of treatment you receive and the doctor you see depends on the severity of your injuries.
Depending on the situation, you may need to see a(n):
- Emergency room doctor
- Urgent care doctor
- Primary care physician
- Providers that specialize in treating auto accident injuries
- Medical specialists, such as a surgeon, neurologist or psychiatrist
Emergency Room Doctor
If you are seriously injured in a MVC, you will need to see a doctor in the emergency room (ER). Life-threatening injuries must be addressed right away. If you feel you are injured, call 911 from the scene of the accident. Regardless of the severity of the accident or injuries, the accident should be reported to the police right away.
Urgent Care or Primary Care Doctor
If you don’t feel your injuries are life-threatening, you should plan to see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Urgent Care Clinics don’t typically require an appointment and have more flexible hours than a Primary Care Provider’s office.
If you feel you can wait and make an appointment, call your PCP and tell them you need a physical examination for a car accident. However, most primary care doctors are typically trained only diagnose injuries, not to provide treatment. Especially the type of treatment that Whiplash injuries require. They treatment they do offer will only be “rest” and NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs).
What if My Primary Care Doctor Won’t See Me After the Accident?
Unfortunately, this can be very common. Many doctors will not see car accident victims because they are either not set up to bill auto insurance companies (which is wholly different than billing health insurance companies). Or, they are uncomfortable treating car accident injuries in case they could be called to testify in court. This means that it is very important to find someone that specializes in diagnosing and treating whiplash injuries.
Whiplash Treatment Specialist
Practices that specialize in Physical Medicine are ideal for treating whiplash injuries. These offices often have a multi specialty staff of chiropractors, physical therapists, medical doctors and more. Whiplash injuries require special treatment to ensure that these injuries don’t become a chronic disability.
Lastly, be sure to:
- Follow all instructions from your doctor. If they ask you to schedule an appointment with a specialist, do it as soon as you can
- Keep up with all appointments and treatment directions
- Listen to your doctor so you heal properly and don’t put yourself at increased risk
If you do file a claim with your insurance company, you must keep all of your appointments. If you don’t keep up with doctor’s appointments, the insurance company can claim you aren’t hurt as badly as you say you are. This can affect your ability to get fair compensation for your injuries.
Should I Always See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
It’s always best to see a doctor after an accident, even if you don’t feel injured. Many MVC injuries are not apparent right away, and can worsen quickly once they appear. For example, any of the following injuries can be present and not appear right away:
- Head and neck injuries, such as whiplash or concussions
- Injury or damage to the muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments of the head and neck
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
It can be easy to overlook symptoms like headaches, minor aches, and pains, numbness or swelling, but these can all be signs of something more serious.