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When to See a Doctor After a Car Accident

Posted in on June 14, 2018

When you’re in an accident, you want to do the right things. You might think about going to the doctor but wonder if it’s the right thing to do. It can be hard to know what to do after a car accident. Do you need a doctor? Will you need to hire a Denver car accident lawyer to help with your claim? Here’s what you need to know.

Do I Need a Doctor After a Car Accident?

If there’s any sign that you may have physical injuries, you need a doctor after a car accident. A doctor is critical to proving that your injuries are the result of the car accident. In addition, injuries in a car accident can be deceiving. You may have serious injuries and not even realize it. A doctor can help you with your physical health needs and help you document your injuries so that you can claim the compensation that you deserve.

Should You See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

Yes, you should see a doctor after a car accident. Quick medical attention can be crucial to prevent your injuries from getting worse and start you on the path to recovery. The sooner you identify what injuries you have from the accident, the sooner you can begin treatment and stop your injuries from getting worse. In addition, if you bring a claim for compensation, your doctor can be a crucial witness to helping you demonstrate what injuries you have from the accident and determining fault for the car accident.

How Long Do You Have to Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident?

Because of the sudden shock of an auto accident, the adrenaline caused by trauma may have numbed you to any initial pain. Don’t wait for symptoms before seeking medical evaluation.

  • Delaying treatment can worsen an injury. Even fender benders can cause unseen physical damage from the force of impact. Swelling and reduced mobility may develop later than broken bones, and have more dire consequences.
  • Insurance companies take notice of wait time so that they can argue against the severity of your injuries. For this reason, you may even be offered a sum by the company to quickly sign a release. Don’t delay medical evaluation, and don’t sign before full recovery.

To take necessary precaution, accept treatment at the scene of the auto accident, especially if the emergency room is an option. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Doctor After Car Accident

Signs to See a Doctor After a Car Accident

A few examples of subtle injuries that aren’t immediately apparent in emergency room X-rays:

  • Joint and muscle injuries (soft tissue); tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to stress
  • Herniated discs
  • Concussions; when your brain collides with your skull with significant force, you’re not in the clear just because you’re conscious

Fatigue, nausea, impaired vision, or notable changes to your sleep cycle are all strong indicators that you have incurred damage from an auto accident. More advanced medical testing may be needed.

Can Your Doctor Testify in Your Car Accident Case?

Yes, your doctor can testify in your car accident case. In fact, your doctor is a crucial witness in a car accident case. When you have a car accident case, it’s up to you to prove your damages and losses. An essential part of establishing your losses is identifying your physical injuries and long-term prognosis.

It isn’t enough just to testify yourself about what your physical injuries are. Instead, you need to have a medical expert that has the training to explain your injuries to the jury. Not only can your doctor testify in your car accident case, but you need your doctor to testify to explain your case to the jury.

Why Do I Need to See a Doctor When I’m in a Car Accident?

You need to see a doctor when you’re in a car accident to get the medical care that you need. In addition, you need your doctor to determine the full extent and prognosis of your medical injuries. The doctor can identify how much time it’s going to take you to recover from your injuries. They can be a critical part of proving the full extent of your car accident claim.

Is What You Tell Your Doctor Admissible in a Car Accident Case?

Yes, what you tell your doctor may be admissible in a car accident case. Generally, you have a right to privacy in what you tell your doctor. The basic rule is that a doctor may not disclose what you tell them when you seek treatment.

However, when you bring a claim for compensation after a car accident, physician-patient privacy laws may not apply. When you bring a car accident claim, you’re placing your physical health in issue. That means the other side can call your doctor to answer questions about your physical condition.

Doctor Testimony in a Car Accident Court Case

The Colorado courts addressed doctor testimony in the Kelly v. Haralampopoulos case in 2014. In the case, the defendant sought to admit statements that a family member made to a doctor for the purposes of medical treatment. The victim’s representatives attempted to block admissibility of the statements.

The court talked about Colorado Rule of Evidence 803(4). The rule is a hearsay exception for statements made to doctors for medical treatment. The general rule is that you can’t admit statements that people make out of court. The reason is that it’s unfair to accept a statement without allowing the other side to cross-examine the person who makes the statement. A statement made out of court is called hearsay.

Even though out of court statements generally aren’t admissible in court, Colorado Rule of Evidence 803(4) creates an exception for statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis and treatment. These statements are considered reliable by the courts because people need to tell the truth to get proper medical treatment. The courts assume that people have honest motives when they talk to their doctors in the course of medical care. When you bring a claim for compensation based on car accident injuries, you can expect your doctor to testify about what you tell them during treatment.

Colorado Doctor Expert Witness Car Accident

In a car accident case, your doctor is both a lay witness and an expert witness. They’re a lay witness to the extent that they’re testifying to the things that they see and hear. But they’re an expert witness because they apply their specialized training and experience to offer an informed opinion about your case.

Your treating physician is always a critical part of any car accident case. It’s important to be aware of the special considerations that are present when your physician testifies. They need to meet the legal standards to testify as an expert. In addition, the other side may request information about your physician’s proposed testimony. You must answer some questions from the other side, but you must also be prepared to respond if the other side tries to burden you with an improper and overwhelming discovery request. Your attorney can help you ensure that you meet all of the requirements to have your doctor testify and that you use your doctor effectively in your car accident case.

Denver Attorneys for Car Accidents

Have you been in a car accident? Do you have questions about going to the doctor? Are you wondering how your doctor might play a role in your car accident claim? Our attorneys can help.

The car accident attorneys at Bachus & Schanker, LLC can help you understand how to seek the right medical attention after a car accident. We can help you prepare medical testimony in your case and present it effectively to win the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your claim.

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Super Lawyers - Kyle Bachus
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Super Lawyers - Darin Schanker
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer
5280 Top Lawyers of Denver