If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, you’re likely feeling a certain amount of stress and even uncertainty. The most important thing to remember is to prioritize your health and safety along with your family’s. If anyone was injured in the accident, make sure they receive the proper medical care immediately and follow any advice given by your medical care team. Once a treatment and recovery plan is in the works, then you can begin to worry about what comes next.
As far as knowing what steps will be required next and what you should be prepared to expect after being in a car wreck, it’s a simple truth that car accidents—especially those serious in nature—can be complex. There can be multiple steps to resolving insurance and legal matters following a collision, and the same can be said for medical care. Below, we’re going to discuss some of the things you should prepare to tackle as you focus on recovery and moving forward.
What to Expect Physically After a Collision
Assuming you get medical attention immediately following the accident, your doctors and medical team will prioritize setting up a treatment and recovery plan. Your course of treatment may include hospital stays, surgeries, medication, home care, physical therapy, and medical equipment you may have to follow through with and learn to use.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, your expected treatment course may take weeks, months, or even years and may involve major life adjustments. Making these adjustments can be understandably frustrating, but it’s important to remember that your care providers are on your side. Sticking to the treatment plans set forward by your doctors is crucial to maximizing your recovery. You should also expect to follow up with any other care providers your doctor suggests, such as physical therapists and/or specialists.
Aside from any injuries diagnosed and treated after the accident, there are other physical implications you may experience during the days and weeks following a collision. Since adrenaline often masks pain symptoms, it’s common for car accident victims to feel pain in a delayed manner and notice injuries later.
The most common types of pain and their associated injuries that may present in a delayed manner include:
- Headache. A minor headache may be nothing to worry about, but a severe headache that doesn’t go away could be a sign of whiplash, concussion, or a head or neck injury.
- Shoulder, back, or neck pain. Pain in these areas is common after a car accident due to the motions that occur upon the crash’s impact. Often these injuries take time to fully present, and the pain can seem like it comes out of nowhere. Pain in these areas can result from muscle tension, nerve or tissue damage, or an injury to the joints, muscles, or tendons.
- Bruising. Bruises develop in a delayed manner because blood vessels take time to expand and reach the skin’s surface after a soft tissue injury.
- Swelling. Swelling may result from soft tissue damage, bruising, or sprains and often takes hours or days to fully present.
- Abdominal Pain. It’s not uncommon to experience abdominal pain after a collision if you were wearing a seatbelt, but persistent pain or nausea can also be a sign of internal bleeding.
- Tinnitus. Ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus, can be a symptom of stress after hearing loud noises. It can also be a symptom of a concussion.
- Dizziness. Often accompanied by blurry vision, dizziness can signify whiplash or a concussion.
If you notice any of these symptoms after being in a car crash and they are persistent, you should get checked out as soon as possible.
What Else to Expect After a Collision
If the police were called out to the scene of your accident, they would generally file a police report. Regardless of whether a report was filed or not, you will be expected to contact your auto insurance company and notify them of the accident if there were any injuries or a significant amount of property damage (including damage to your vehicle). You will also be expected to exchange insurance and contact information with any other drivers involved in the crash and cooperate with the police if they arrive on-scene.
In the days and weeks following the accident, you will be expected to follow up with your insurance company as necessary to resolve the claim that they open. You may be expected to consult with and cooperate with insurance adjusters and appraisers as they work through your claim. An appraiser may ask to come out to inspect the damage your vehicle sustained. You will be expected to sign insurance forms.
If the insurance claim process goes smoothly, you may not have to deal with the other driver’s insurance company who was involved in the accident. In some instances, however, they may reach out to you. If they pressure you to try and settle a claim when your insurance company is still investigating the accident, you should tell them you are not ready to settle yet. Insurance adjusters sometimes unfairly try and get an accident victim to settle early.
Taking Legal Action
What happens after a car accident and how complex the insurance claims process is will depend on the nature of the accident, how serious it was, the type of insurance you and the other driver have, and many other factors. If your injuries were severe, the claims process could be quite complex and stressful for a family struggling to move forward.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with an insurance company that is treating your claim unfairly, or you’re questioning who was at fault for the crash and how liability will determine the result of your claim, it may be advisable to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Having legal representation can provide peace of mind. An attorney can make sure your voice is heard and fight on your behalf if an insurer acts irresponsibly.
To learn how Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys may be able to help, get in touch with our Chicago office today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Can I Sue an Insurance Company?