SHOULD I SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION AFTER A REAR-END COLLISION?
Rear-end crashes are among the most common types of collisions, accounting for approximately one-third of all motor vehicle accidents. A rear-end collision happens when the front end of the trailing vehicle collides with the back end of the lead vehicle. Some of these accidents happen at higher speeds, often resulting in major vehicle damage and severe injuries. The majority, however, happen at lower speeds, which usually result in minimal damage to the vehicle. These are commonly known as “fender benders”.
Fender benders can seem like little more than a nuisance for those involved. The car behind you bumps into you, you get out, exchange contact and insurance information, and move on. At the time, you might not have felt any pain or injury. After a seemingly minor rear-end accident, many people wonder whether it is even worthwhile to seek medical attention. The accident already took up an hour or two of your time, so why bother going to see the doctor?
In general, it is always best to get medical help after any type of auto accident, even one that does only minor damage to your vehicle. There are several reasons for this:
Vehicle Accident Injuries are Not always Detected Right Away
You have probably seen or heard about an athlete who gets hurt during a game, continues playing and does not notice the injury until later on. This is usually because of adrenaline and endorphins, two chemicals that are fired off when someone is participating in an exciting event. Car accidents are also “exciting”, although not in the “fun” sort of way. During a vehicle collision, your heart starts racing and your mind starts moving in all different directions, and your main focus is resolving the situation. The adrenaline rush at the moment can mask the pain of an injury. You may not start to feel the injury until a few hours or even a couple days later.
Even Minor Vehicle Accidents Can Result in Serious Injuries
Injuries from rear-end collisions can be moderate to severe, and there may be a lengthy recovery time before you are back to normal. Examples of injuries that can happen because of rear-end crashes include:
Whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries;
Back and neck injuries;
Spinal cord injuries;
Traumatic brain injuries;
If these injuries are not treated right away, the symptoms can start to worsen; and in some cases, the situation could become life-threatening. By getting a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment, you can help prevent more severe issues.
Seeking Medical Attention helps Establish a Legal Connection between the Accident and Your Injuries
Getting immediate medical help also helps protect your legal right to pursue a claim for any injuries you may have suffered. In order to get compensation for medical bills, time missed from work, and other losses, you will need to show that your injuries are related to the underlying accident. If you wait too long to seek treatment, the insurance company might argue that you must not have been hurt that badly, or that the accident did not cause your current medical condition.
Seeking Medical Attention fulfills your Legal Obligation to Mitigate your Losses
Another issue that may come up if you decide to pursue a claim for compensation for your injuries is your obligation to mitigate your losses. Even if the accident was another party’s fault, you are obligated to take reasonable steps to ensure that the damages you suffer are minimized. If you do not seek medical help right away and your symptoms get worse, it could be argued that you are responsible for your worsening condition.
Injured in a Rear-End Accident in Virginia? Contact a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone close to you was injured in a rear-end collision in Virginia, seek medical attention as soon as possible, then speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer to review your legal options. Virginia is a “contributory negligence” state, meaning that if you are found to have “contributed” in any way to the accident that caused your injury (even 1%), you may be barred from recovering compensation. For this reason, it is important to have strong legal counsel in your corner from the outset advocating forcefully for your rights and interests.
For a free consultation with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schilling & Esposito, contact our office today at 804-261-1001, or send us a message through our web contact form.