Rear-end collisions are some of the most common types of car accidents. And, while some rear-end collisions happen while vehicles are traveling at high speeds, the majority of rear-end crashes occur in parking lots and intersections when vehicles are traveling slowly. As such, the damages to vehicles in rear-end collision accidents are typically minor – just scratches and dents to a bumper. Significant property damage costs are rare.
Because rear-end crashes often occur at low speeds and property damage is minor, insurance adjusters often try to minimize the damages they will offer by pointing out the lack of property damage. Even many people who are involved in rear-end crashes assume that they do not need to seek medical care after a rear-end crash. However, this is short-sighted; rear-end crashes can result in serious injuries, and failing to seek medical care can have an adverse effect on both one’s health and wellbeing and the outcome of an insurance claim. Here’s a look into why you should always seek medical attention after a rear-end accident–
Injuries May Not Be Immediately Obvious
One reason why it is smart to seek medical care immediately after a rear-end crash is that injuries are not always obvious. Sometimes, this is because the body’s adrenaline prevents one from feeling or recognizing common injury signs, such as pain. Other times, it is simply because the type of injury sustained does not have especially obvious or acute symptoms. Consider, for example, the effects of a mild traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion. A concussion can lead to confusion, fatigue, and nausea – all things that a person may think are “normal” after being involved in a crash, but which could actually be danger signs of a more serious injury requiring medical care. Soft tissue injuries are also common as a result of a rear-end crash, particularly whiplash. Whiplash, like a traumatic brain injury, may also not be evident immediately but can be serious.
Seeking Medical Care Immediately after an Accident Establishes Causation
Not only should you seek medical care immediately after a car wreck because doing so helps to ensure that you get the treatment that you need for those injuries, but also because seeking medical care immediately after a wreck establishes causation, one of the most essential elements of a car accident claim. Establishing causation means offering proof that your injuries would not have occurred but for the car accident. You must be able to prove causation to recover for your injuries and damages after a car wreck. When you seek medical care immediately after a crash, you create indisputable evidence that your injuries are linked to the crash. However, if you wait too long to get medical care, there may be room to argue that your injuries, while legitimate, aren’t related to the crash, but instead to another event. And, if they can, you can expect an insurance adjuster to do just that to try to avoid compensating you for your injuries.
You Risk Forfeiting Compensation by Failing to See a Doctor
Not only do you put your health and well-being in jeopardy when you fail to see a doctor, but you also risk forfeiting your full compensation award. Again, an insurance adjuster could (and probably will) argue that the injuries aren’t related to the car accident – if they were, why would you delay so long in seeking medical care?
Another argument that an insurance adjuster may make that could be used to diminish your settlement is that you failed to do due diligence to mitigate damages. For example, if you suffered a whiplash injury in a car accident and then did not seek medical care for the injury, and, therefore, the injury was exacerbated, the insurance adjuster can claim that had you sought care, your injury wouldn’t be as severe, and, therefore, the insurance company should not be liable for the full extent of damages you have suffered.
Other Steps to Take After a Rear-End Collision
After a rear-end accident, or any motor vehicle accident type for that matter, you should seek medical care as soon as possible, but always within 24 hours of the collision . . . even if you do not believe you are hurt. In addition to seeking medical care, it is also important to report the accident to the police immediately, take pictures of the accident scene and any property damage or injuries, and to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Call Our Alabama Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you have suffered injuries as a result of a rear-end crash, our Alabama car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Troy King want to meet with you. We can help you to file your claim and negotiate for a fair settlement, and we always work on a contingency fee basis which means that we never charge upfront fees to talk with you or to handle your case. Call us today at 334-215-4440 or send us a message directly to schedule your free consultation and get someone on your side who will fight as hard for you as the adjusters and their experts and lawyers will be fighting for the insurance company.