Accidents are a jarring experience, often leaving us stunned, overwhelmed, and uncertain of what to do next. Amid the shock and pain, one aspect that must never be overlooked is obtaining immediate medical care after an accident. Not convinced? According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, as many as 20-50 million people across the globe are injured in car accidents each year. Many of those who delay medical help face complications, prolonged recovery or permanent damage. In this guide, we will discuss the key reasons to prioritize medical attention after an accident in Miami.
The Importance of Seeing a Doctor After an Accident
Imagine this: You are on a ski trip, taking in the crisp air and beautiful views. You have a little tumble but you laugh it off – after all, you feel just fine. That’s exactly what happened to acclaimed actress Natasha Richardson a few years ago. Despite being dazed after her fall, Natasha felt okay and decided against seeing a doctor. No big deal, right? Wrong. A few hours later, Natasha tragically lost her life due to an undiagnosed epidural hematoma, a severe condition that could have been treated if caught early.
While it’s not every day we find ourselves on a ski slope, accidents can and do happen in all sorts of places – whether you are driving to work, riding a bicycle, or even crossing the street. But no matter how minor a crash or a fall might seem at first, you must not underestimate its potential impact on your body. Perhaps you feel fine at first, just like Natasha did, but a serious internal injury may have occurred, while the symptoms may not have manifested externally as yet.
Let’s review some of the important reasons you must get a professional evaluation done at a qualified medical facility, such as Icon Medical Centers in Florida as soon as possible after your accident.
Adrenaline has a way of masking pain and other tell-tale signs of an injury, which is why some injuries, especially the more insidious ones like internal bleeding, concussions, or soft tissue injuries, might not be immediately noticeable.
We have seen a fair share of people involved in minor car collisions who only check themselves for broken bones, cuts, or bruises and finding none, think they are okay. They don’t realize that that slight headache or the minor discomfort in the abdomen is something to worry about.
In reality, that headache could be a symptom of a concussion or even a traumatic brain injury, while that bit of an ache in the tummy could be an indication of internal bleeding. Both conditions can worsen quickly and have serious, even life-threatening consequences if not promptly diagnosed and treated.
Then there are soft tissue injuries, which include damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A common example of a soft tissue injury from an auto accident is whiplash, which can take hours, days, or even weeks to manifest. Left untreated, whiplash can lead to chronic neck pain and other long-term complications.
This is why it’s crucial to seek urgent medical attention after an accident, regardless of how you feel. A medical provider has the tools and knowledge to spot these invisible injuries and initiate timely accident injury treatment, which can save you from prolonged pain and a risk of serious complications.
Documenting Injuries for Legal Purposes
A doctor in Miami can look you over for any signs of injury and patch you up – but it’s more than that. Their post-accident medical evaluation can protect your rights if you intend to file a personal injury claim later. When you see a doctor immediately, they will record the details of every bruise, every cut, every ache. And this can serve as critical medical evidence later to prove your injuries, pain and suffering.
In Florida, there is a rule called the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law which says that if you are in a collision, you need to see a doctor within 14 days. If you don’t, you might have to foot your medical bills yourself because your insurance claim could be denied.
Medical professionals can help establish a scientific connection between your injuries and the accident. For instance, if you start experiencing spinal pain a week after the accident and you did not see a healthcare provider until then, proving that the accident caused your back pain could be much more difficult.
Take a herniated disc, for example: it’s a common but often delayed back injury from accidents. The pain might not kick in until weeks after the incident. But if you saw a physician right after, they might have made a note of your initial discomfort. Later on, that note can be the piece of the puzzle that shows your herniated disc is from the accident, not from that heavy box you lifted at work a month later.
Preventing Long-term Damage
Sometimes, when a motorist has been in a minor fender-bender, they walk away feeling a bit shaken but okay overall, so they skip the trip to the hospital. But a few weeks later, they might notice their shoulder is really starting to bother. They can’t lift things the way they used to, and it’s even interrupting their sleep.
That shoulder pain could be due to a serious rotator cuff injury. It’s fairly common in vehicle crashes, and at first, it might feel like a slight ache. But left untreated, a rotator cuff injury can get worse over time and adversely affect your arm movement. In the worst cases, it might even need surgery to restore movement.
Seeing a doctor immediately after the crash could help you avoid all that trouble. They could have spotted the injury early, started you on treatment, and saved you from a whole world of shoulder hassle down the line. So, it’s not just about feeling okay now, it’s about staying okay later.
Speeding Up the Recovery Process
Think about the last time you got a cold. Did you ignore it, hoping it would go away on its own, or did you immediately start with some home remedies, and maybe even a visit to the doctor? Most likely, you did the latter. And why is that? Because we all know the quicker we tackle the problem, the sooner we get back to our healthy selves.
The same rule applies to injuries from an accident. Let’s say you twisted your ankle after you slipped and fell in the supermarket because the floor was wet. Your ankle is a bit swollen and sore, but you can still hobble around on it. You might think it is no big deal and just try to walk it off.
But trying to be confident at this moment might actually slow down your recovery. Without proper injury care after a car accident or slip and fall accident, your sprained ankle could take longer to heal and might not heal correctly. You could end up with a weak ankle that is prone to future injuries.
On the flip side, if you’d gone to the doctor right after your fall, they could have given you an ankle brace, pain medications, and advice on how to rest and care for your injury. With this kind of immediate attention and emergency medical care, you’d likely be back on your feet faster, without the lingering effects of an improperly healed injury.
The impact of a traumatic event is not limited to physical injuries. The emotions you feel after experiencing an accident are just as real, and just as important to treat.
It’s not uncommon for people who have been injured in an auto crash to start feeling jittery every time they need to drive or even ride in a car, after the initial shock wears off. Your heart races, your palms get sweaty, and you can’t stop picturing the accident happening all over again. These could be signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that often surfaces after one has been through a distressing event.
Or maybe you did not sustain any physical injuries in the accident, but you can’t shake off the feeling of unease and worry. You are finding it hard to sleep, you are more irritable, and you just don’t feel like yourself anymore. These are common symptoms of anxiety.
The good news is, you don’t have to struggle through these feelings on your own. Mental health professionals are there to provide you with tools and techniques to manage your stress and anxiety, and help you process what happened.
Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be particularly helpful in dealing with accident-induced PTSD or anxiety. In these sessions, you learn how to identify and challenge harmful thought patterns, helping you regain control of your mind.
Take the First Step Towards Safe Healing: Visit Icon Medical Centers for Proper Medical Attention
Instead of dismissing that seemingly minor accident or trying to brave it out, reach out to us at Icon Medical Centers. We will help you heal, regain your strength, and get you back in the driver’s seat, ready to face life head-on again. Our qualified physicians, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, chiropractic experts, and massage therapists understand the complexities of painful symptoms after an accident, and are ready to help.
If you are in Florida, our accident clinic Miami is right in your backyard with other locations in Hollywood, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Kendall, and Pembroke Pines. Notably, Florida law says that regardless of who is at fault in an auto crash or a slip and fall accident, you are entitled to medical attention. Just make sure you seek treatment within 14 days of the incident for your medical care to be covered at our injury clinics.
If you or a loved one ever find yourselves in the aftermath of an accident, your well-being is a phone call away. Reach out to us online or call us at 786-882-4116, and let’s embark on the path of recovery together, one step at a time.