Whether you’ve been in an accident yourself or just seen one from the road, everyone has wondered what it would be like to be injured in a car crash. It can be a confusing time, often with no clear direction for what to do next or where to turn for help. For advice about how to handle issues of medical care following a South Carolina auto accident, keep reading.
When should you go?
If you’ve been involved in a South Carolina auto accident and have even the slightest reason to suspect that you’ve been injured, you should seek medical care immediately. Waiting is bad for several reasons: First, it can lead to worse injuries, making it more difficult to recover and possibly exacerbating an already bad condition. Second, waiting also gives the opposing party and his or her insurance company a chance to try and wiggle out from responsibility by arguing that you were not seriously injured or even injured at all in the accident.
What if you feel fine?
If you’ve been involved in a truly minor accident then there’s no reason to rush off to the emergency room. However, and this is important to understand, even seemingly minor accidents can lead to serious complications down the road. In some accidents, drivers may feel fine initially, only to have symptoms come on strong days later. Internal injuries, spinal injuries, muscle strain and head injuries are all known for long lead times, something that can prove dangerous when ignored by injured motorists. Resist the urge to play doctor and diagnose yourself. Instead, seek out an experienced doctor who can assess your injuries fully and also create a crucial paper trail that can be used in any future personal injury lawsuit.
Why it’s important
As we mentioned earlier, going to seek medical treatment right away is critical in any South Carolina auto accident case. The first reason is obvious: the sooner you see a doctor the sooner you can begin receiving treatment for your injuries. This means you will heal faster and can avoid making your condition worse by delaying treatment.
The second reason that going to the doctor early is so important is because it prevents insurance companies from blaming you later on. Those who wait to seek treatment leave themselves open to being accused of faking injuries later on in an attempt to collect a big payout. Insurance companies will accuse innocent plaintiffs of gaming the system, arguing that if they were truly injured they would have sought help immediately. Furthermore, plaintiffs who wait to seek medical care increase the odds that defendants will try and blame injuries on outside causes other than the accident. For instance, a person who waits several weeks before going to the doctor to complain of a back injury is opening himself up to accusations that the injury happened at work or at home, and not as a result of the car accident.
Unfortunately, many people assume that if they are not to blame for the accident they also should not have to pay for the medical care that results from it. While this makes perfect sense, the reality is that insurance companies and individual defendants will typically contest liability and refuse to pay any of these medical expenses upfront. That means that, at least initially, you are on your own when it comes to paying for medical care and treatment.
Can you sue later for repayment?
Absolutely. Although you are often required to be on the hook for the bills up front, you are allowed to sue for compensation for all your expenses from the person responsible for the accident. After the lawsuit has been completed, the responsible party will need to pay for the harm they caused, including any money spent treating medical conditions related to the accident. Although it is unfair that you should have to pay at all, it’s good to know that you will eventually be able to get the money back. In the event that you are unable to pay for the treatment you need, your local attorney in South Carolina may know doctors who are willing to treat you in consideration for your agreement to direct your attorney to pay them your bills from your future recovery for the accident.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.