Posted by Ryan Cunningham on 07/29/2022

Do I Have to Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?

Do I Have to Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?

In the aftermath of an Oklahoma City car accident, a number of overwhelming concerns for those involved in the incident, particularly for those sustaining injuries, become predominant. One of the most urgent issues for car accident victims is getting the necessary medical attention they need to recover and heal. Every year in the U.S., approximately 4 million emergency department visits occur as a result of traffic injuries.


Unfortunately, some victims who do incur an injury of some kind in a car accident, whether minor or otherwise, put off going to the hospital or seeing a doctor. Sometimes this is due to other concerns and obligations at hand or simply assuming everything will be okay without getting a medical examination. However, taking this route can prove to be a big mistake not only for your health, but also the validity of your legal claim for compensation.

When to see a doctor after a car wreck

If the reality of your injuries is not sufficient to motivate you to visit the emergency room or see a doctor promptly, the manner in which insurance companies evaluate your claim and determine compensation may be. Although you may interact with an actual human claims adjuster, much of the insurance adjusting process is handled by computer programs that respond to data provided about your accident, injuries, and medical treatment for those injuries.


An important component of that data that can potentially increase your chances to secure compensation is whether you sought and obtained medical care within a reasonable period of time after the incident. For many insurance companies, this reasonable time period is considered to be 72 hours. Therefore, in some cases if you fail to go to the hospital or see a doctor within 72 hours of the accident, you risk suffering a significant reduction in the compensation you can receive.


If, for some reason, it is a better option to see your primary care physician rather than go to the hospital, and your physician is unable to see you within 72 hours, you may opt to visit an urgent care clinic to be seen right away. Although you may pay more out-of-pocket at one of these clinics, you can also submit the bill to your insurance company for compensation. If you visit a chiropractor within 72 hours of your accident, your insurance company will likely recognize that as the same as visiting a doctor.

What about delayed injury symptoms?

Although certain injuries such as serious lacerations, broken bones, and severe burns are obvious as to their severity, others can manifest slowly over time. However, the fact that you have sustained a seemingly minor injury should not prevent you from seeking medical attention immediately and also returning for a follow-up visit later as other symptoms develop or intensify. Soft tissue injuries and concussion injuries are among those that may appear minor at first, but can grow more serious in the days and weeks that follow.

Soft tissue injuries

Injuries that affect the tendons, muscles, and ligaments are often referred to as soft tissue injuries. Symptoms of these injuries may not develop for a number of days after an accident. They can leave victims with severe pain and prevent mobility if left untreated.

An x-ray will often not detect these types of injuries. Therefore, it is important to play it safe and go to the hospital after a car crash if you have sustained significant impact to one or more portions of your body that may have resulted in soft tissue injuries.

Concussion injuries and symptoms

A concussion occurs when the brain is subject to trauma in one way or the other. This is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and often occurs in car accident as the head is propelled forward and the brain is forced against the inside of the skull. Sometimes, in the midst of the disorientation caused by a car crash, patients may not realize they have suffered a concussion. Concussion symptoms to watch for include:

  • Seeing stars
  • Momentary loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Amnesia
  • Nausea
  • Balance issues

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms after a car crash, you may have sustained a concussion. It is imperative to seek a medical evaluation immediately. If these symptoms develop or increase days after the accident, do not hesitate to get medical attention or follow-up with an additional appointment. Doing so promptly will also increase the chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Get checked now and rechecked later if necessary

Even if the symptoms of your injury, whether soft tissue, concussion, or otherwise are delayed, you still should not put off seeing a doctor. If additional symptoms arise later, you can always submit additional medical expenses to your insurance company for compensation.


If a car crash injury due to the negligence of another party has left you with increasing medical expenses and other financial losses, our car accident attorneys at Cunningham & Mears are here to help.

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