Man in pain holding his neck

Do I Need to See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

When you are involved in a car accident in or around Northern Virginia, you might not be sure if it makes sense to immediately see a doctor. You might assume that your injuries are relatively minor and that you will make an appointment with your healthcare provider once you get the property damage from the collision sorted out. Yet waiting to seek medical attention can be disastrous—both in terms of your health and in terms of your ability to obtain financial compensation for your injuries. You need to see a doctor after a car accident, and the following are some of the reasons why.

Your Injuries Could Be Much More Serious Than You Realize

After a collision, you might have a headache, your back and neck might hurt, or you might have cuts and bruises, and you might be assuming that you avoided injuries that could have been much worse. Yet it is critical to know that many serious car accident injuries do not have immediate signs and symptoms. In some cases, it may be hours or even days before you experience signs of a serious injury. At that point, it could be too late for you to get proper treatment, or your injuries might have worsened so significantly that you may have a permanent disability.

For example, Healthline explains that internal bleeding is a common injury that results from trauma such as an auto collision, yet internal bleeding might not produce immediate signs or symptoms. If left untreated, internal bleeding can be deadly. Other catastrophic injuries, too, might take some time before signs appear, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). And in some cases, you might not realize that you have suffered a fracture until you are properly x-rayed and assessed by a doctor.

You Could Risk Being Barred from Recovery Under Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Rule

If you do not see a doctor immediately after an auto accident, the driver who was at fault for the collision could raise the issue of contributory negligence and may be able to successfully bar you from recovery. Virginia follows a pure contributory negligence rule, which bars a plaintiff from any recovery as soon as that plaintiff is found to be at all responsible for the accident or the severity of the injuries. Even a plaintiff who is only 1 percent at fault will be barred from recovery under Virginia’s contributory negligence law.

You Will Need Your Medical Records as Evidence to Support Your Car Accident Lawsuit

Your medical records will be essential evidence when you file your car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A healthcare provider’s assessment of your injuries immediately after the collision can demonstrate that you did indeed sustain those injuries in the car accident (and that the injuries were not preexisting), and your follow-up care with your doctor will be the evidence you need to show your ongoing disability and losses tied to the collision. Keep in mind that you need to file your lawsuit within two years from the date of the crash according to the Virginia personal injury statute of limitations (Code of Va. § 8.01-243).

Learn More from Our Fairfax Personal Injury Attorneys

The steps you need to take after a serious car accident can be difficult to keep straight when you are dealing with serious pain and suffering from your injuries. Yet seeking medical attention is essential. If you need assistance with your car crash claims, one of our experienced Fairfax auto accident lawyers can speak with you today about your case. Contact Family Law Group to learn more about how we assist plaintiffs throughout Northern Virginia with personal injury lawsuits.