I was in a Car Accident Today — What Should I Do Now?
Being in a car crash can feel overwhelming, scary and intensely stressful. It may be hard to stay calm and keep a cool head right after a collision, which can lead to uncertainty over what to do next.
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, we’re here to help make sure you know the best course of action to take to protect your health and well-being. If you’ve been in a car accident today, keep reading to learn the 3 steps to take next.
Check Yourself for Injuries
The first step you should take after being in a car crash is checking yourself for injuries. It’s especially important that you stay alert to signs or symptoms of a head injury, like a concussion. A concussion — also called a mild traumatic brain injury — is one of the most common car crash injuries. Monitor yourself for the following signs and symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness, even for a few seconds
- Feeling stunned or dazed
- Feeling sluggish or groggy
- Feeling drowsy or lethargic
- Feeling dizzy or off balance
- Feeling confused or unfocused
- Experiencing ringing in the ears
- Experiencing double vision or blurry vision
- Having a headache
- Experiencing sensitivity to light or sounds
- Feeling nauseous
- Feeling off, not right, or not like your normal self
While signs of a concussion usually present right after an accident, they may feel mild or insignificant at first and worsen over the coming days and weeks. And in some cases, the first symptoms may not appear until several days after the crash. You’ll need to be vigilant in monitoring yourself for any unusual feelings or sensations for up to a few weeks after being in a car collision.
Other symptoms you may feel after a car crash include neck pain, back pain, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in your extremities, headaches and abdominal pain. You should make an appointment to see a doctor if you feel any pain, weakness or abnormal symptoms in the days and weeks following a car crash. Even mild pain and discomfort could be an indicator of a serious injury.
Call Your Insurance Provider
Call your insurance provider as soon as possible after you’ve been in a car accident. Florida is one of 12 no-fault states, so even if the accident was the other driver’s fault, you’ll need to file a claim and be reimbursed for damages through your own insurance company. It’s almost always in your best interests to call the police and file an official insurance claim after an accident. Even if car damages and injuries seem minor at the scene, more significant damages and medical issues could present days or weeks later. If you don’t file a claim to use your insurance coverage, you could end up footing the bill for thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs and medical bills.
Additionally, it’s never a good idea to try and settle an accident dispute on your own with another driver. If you weren’t at-fault, you have no way of guaranteeing the other driver will keep their promise and pay for your expenses. If you were at-fault, you could end up on the hook for a lot of money if the other driver has significant repair expenses.
In Florida, you have 4 years to file a personal injury and/or property damage claim after a car crash. However, we strongly recommend you start the claims process on the day of your accident. That way, your insurance coverage will be able to cover immediate bills you have. Additionally, the longer you wait to file a claim, the fuzzier the exact details will become and the harder it will be to manage the claims process.
Make an Appointment With a Medical Specialist
Even if you don’t feel injured right after a crash, it’s a smart idea to receive a medical check-up at a practice that specializes in diagnosing and treating car crash injuries. There are a couple reasons for that:
- First, not all signs and symptoms of injury present immediately after a car accident. Your body is in a state of shock and experiencing a massive adrenaline rush, which may cause delayed pain and symptoms. Even if you feel fine, gain peace of mind knowing you truly are as well as you feel by letting your doctor perform a full evaluation.
- Second, even mild symptoms could be signs of major injuries. It’s normal to feel sore and achy after a high-impact collision, but neck and back pain, headaches, muscle spasms, weakness and numbness may be warning signs of significant injuries. Common car crash injuries include concussions, whiplash, soft tissue sprains and strains, fractures, herniated discs, spinal damage and pinched nerves. Don’t brush off abnormal feelings as insignificant, or assume your back and neck pain will go away on its own. Left untreated, car crash injuries like the ones listed above can lead to long-term pain and complications.
- Third, you’ll need medical documentation to support a personal injury claim with your insurance company. Waiting too long to see a doctor, or not going at all, could impact the settlement amount you receive for your claim.
- And fourth, you’ll need medical documentation if you decide to hire an attorney. If you’re injured in a car crash, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to represent your claim. A lawyer will be able to determine the true value of your injury and damages, and fight for you to get the settlement amount you deserve from the insurance company.
Integrity Spine and Orthopedics Specializes in Car Crash Injuries
Contact Integrity Spine and Orthopedics if you’ve been in a car accident today and have back, joint or soft tissue pain and symptoms. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons specialize in pain management, general orthopedics and minimally invasive spine surgeries to treat a wide range of spine, muscle and joint conditions caused by car crashes.
Don’t let a car collision injury disrupt your life for long. Let us help you get back on your feet and back to participating in the activities you love. Call us today at 904-456-0017 to schedule an appointment or fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch soon.
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