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The Dangers of Waiting To Seek Medical Attention After An Accident

One of the most disrupting and life-altering events that we may experience is being in a car accident. Oftentimes, many people just want to go home and forget about the experience by laying down and doing something calming such as watching tv or being with family. It is often counter-intuitive to seek out professional legal and medical assistance after a car accident, especially when we are hurt.

However, if you are in an accident, it is important to not only work with a personal injury attorney but to get to a doctor and have any injuries documented and treated by a medical professional. Time is of the essence in these situations.

“But, is it really that bad if I wait to seek medical attention if it is inconvenient or my injuries don’t feel that bad at the time?”


Yes, it really is bad and can make your case a lot more challenging than it needs to be.

The ideal time frame for medical attention and initial documentation is within 72 hours of the accident – that is no more than 3 days. After an accident, adrenaline will likely block pain sensation for hours after the event. The next day, however, will be a different story. Even if there were only minor injuries, the following day might be quite achy and unpleasant – an indicator of soft tissue damage which can be troubling to diagnose and treat.

What are the dangers of not seeking medical attention immediately?

Several important things happen if you wait too long after an accident to see a doctor. First, even minor collisions can result in long-lasting injuries, such as discomfort and reduced physical ability, that may last for weeks or months after the collision.

Second, you may even reduce your chances of a successful recovery.  Without having injuries identified and documented, your injuries may not be able to be fully or even partially associated with the initial accident.

The most typical symptoms and injuries that occur following an accident and appear in the days or weeks afterward include:

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Loss or deterioration in balance
  • Tinnitus or other hearing issues

Additionally, the longer you wait to get medical attention, the weaker your case will likely appear to an insurance adjuster or panel of jurors. The argument will be made that if it took you a month to seek medical attention about your injuries, then the injury must not have been that serious, and therefore not worth as much in damages.

Worse, they will argue any activities you may have performed after the accident which could have caused or added to the injury apart from the accident. In certain situations, an extended wait for treatment might result in the insurer attempting to deny the claim entirely.

In California, what time limits are involved with personal injury claims?

Universally, it is better to start a claim as early as possible to the initial occurrence or discovery of the injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, a claim may be filed up to two years from the date of the accident that caused the injury. If the injury was discovered at the time of the accident, the victim only has one year from the date of the accident to file a compensation claim.

While this process may seem unfair to the victim, it is an important part of our legal process which allows individuals a reasonable period to seek recovery.

Car Accidents and Injuries: Seek Qualified Legal Assistance

If you or someone you know has been in a vehicle accident and has not gotten treatment for some time, there is still a chance to obtain compensation for those losses. Because there are time restrictions, the first significant step is to contact a local personal injury attorney for a case evaluation without any obligation. For a free consultation, contact Harsh Law today at (909) 793-6261 or fill out the contact form on this website.