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Home 9 Car Accident Questions 9 When should I seek medical treatment?

When should I seek medical treatment?

When you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, it is normal for you to feel confused or in shock. People who are in accidents may have rushes of adrenaline as they process what happened. It is common for people to think that they are not injured, only to have symptoms of their injuries appear in the hours or days following their accident.

There are several types of injuries that might not immediately be noticed, but which will require medical attention. Because of this, it is important for you to seek medical attention immediately following your accident after you have spoken to the responding police officers, even if you do not initially believe that you were injured.

Here are some types of accident injuries that may initially not be noticed and additional reasons why seeking medical attention immediately is important.


Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries may not show up for several days after an accident. Whiplash is common in rear-end accidents when a person’s head and neck are propelled violently forward in the collision followed by the head and neck overextending backward. This action, caused by the physical forces involved in the accident, can cause injuries including:

● Tears to the soft tissues
● Damage to bones
● Damage to tendons
● Other injuries to the neck and shoulder area.

Internal injuries and bleeding

Internal injuries and internal bleeding may also not be noticed immediately. Internal bleeding can be especially dangerous, resulting in severe injuries or death. If you suffered a blow to your abdomen in the accident, it is possible that it may have damaged your spleen or liver, causing bleeding. Symptoms of internal bleeding following an accident might include a swollen, tender abdomen, confusion and lightheadedness. It is extremely important to seek prompt medical attention if internal bleeding is possible.


If you suffer a concussion in an accident, it may initially go unnoticed, especially if you do not have a friend or loved one with you who can recognize that something is wrong. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries that occur when the brain slams into the skull. The symptoms of concussions vary, but may include the following:

● Headaches
● Ringing in the ears
● Blurry vision
● Confusion
● Irritability
● Difficulty concentrating
● Loss of memory
● Other symptoms.

Concussions may range in severity and could potentially have lifelong effects.

Emotional damage

When people experience something that is very traumatic, they sometimes develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This disorder may involve anxiety, depression and persistent thoughts about the accident that are difficult to control. PTSD may not show up for several months following the accident. If you witnessed something that was especially horrific, it might be smart for you to see a counselor for help with processing your emotions and feelings.

Additional reasons to seek immediate medical attention

Seeking immediate medical attention is important because when some injuries are diagnosed promptly, your prognosis may be better than if they are diagnosed later. If your accident was the fault of the other driver, it is also important to seek medical attention immediately following the accident for insurance and claim purposes. Insurance companies will want to see that you sought treatment right after your accident. If you wait, the companies may try to dispute that your injuries resulted from your accident, or the companies may dispute the extent of them in an attempt to reduce the value of your claim.

What not to do

You should never state to the other driver or to the responding officers that you do not have any injuries. It will be very difficult for you to recover damages for your injuries if you deny that you are injured. Instead, simply tell the officers that you would like to be checked out by a physician to determine whether or not you are injured and the extent of your injuries.

After receiving a thorough medical exam, it is important for you to follow through with all of the recommended treatments. This helps you to not only recover, but it also demonstrates to the insurance company that you are actively working to get better. Finally, the insurance company will likely try to call you soon after your accident in order to try to get a statement from you. Avoid making any statements before you meet with an attorney because adjusters will often try to use your words against you later on in the case.

The Lamber Goodnow team, together with our co-counsel personal injury law firm in Chicago, are experienced in these matters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.

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