When you are injured in a car crash, you may need emergency medical treatment, surgeries, ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, and other care. Knowing who to turn to can be difficult.
In many cases, you won’t be able to choose who treats you in an emergency. If you are able to, you can tell the ambulance crew which hospital you’d like to be taken to, but the current capacity of each facility, how severe your injuries are, and which facility is closest might force the EMTs to make certain decisions. However, follow-up care can typically be done with a physician or other health care provider of your choice, and your attorney can help you choose the right one to use.
For a free case evaluation after a car accident, contact the Westchester car accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm, PLLC today at (914) 685-6950. Our attorneys can help coordinate your medical care and direct you to physicians who are dedicated to your recovery.
What Type of Doctor Should I See After a Car Accident?
After being injured in a car accident, victims may think that medical attention from any type of doctor is sufficient. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s important to seek help from several types of doctors throughout the course of your treatment, there is a specific route you should take after a car accident.
The first type of doctor you should see after a car accident is an emergency room doctor. While you may receive immediate care from EMTs and paramedics on your way to the emergency room, seeking care from a doctor specializing in traumatic car accident injuries is still crucial. Getting immediate medical care in the minutes and hours following a crash is incredibly important, especially if you plan to sue a negligent driver for compensation. So, always choose to see an emergency room doctor first.
After you go to the emergency room, you can speak with your primary care physician. Now, victims should not choose to visit a primary care physician immediately after a car accident. However, you can inform your normal doctor of your injuries and suggested treatment plan after receiving immediate medical attention from an emergency room physician. Your primary care physician likely knows you well and can talk you through some of the more confusing aspects of your treatment. They may also be able to recommend specialists that can help you on your path to recovery.
The last type of doctor you should see is a specialist. Generally, car accident victims need to see specialists to aid their recovery after a crash. Depending on your injuries, you may see a specialist for years after a collision. If an emergency room doctor and your primary care physician advise you to see a specialist, listen. The medical records you generate from visiting all the necessary medical professionals can greatly help your car accident lawyer in a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
Visiting Emergency Rooms vs. Medical Clinics After a Car Accident
When faced with the drama and chaos that often coincides with emergency rooms, car accident victims may choose to visit a medical clinic instead. Before you make that decision, it’s important to know the pros and cons of going to the emergency room versus a medical clinic after a car accident.
Generally speaking, it’s better to go to the emergency room after a car accident instead of a medical clinic. Emergency rooms have access to high-tech equipment and experienced staff who can treat serious car accident injuries easily and efficiently. Medical clinics, like urgent care facilities, may not have access to the necessary equipment or resources to treat you. That said, visiting a medical clinic is fine if your injuries do not appear severe and you don’t want to wait in the emergency room.
Visits to care facilities can also be more affordable than trips to emergency rooms, which is certainly part of the appeal for car accident victims already facing financial difficulties after a crash. Proximity can also be a reason why some car accident victims choose to visit a medical clinic. If an urgent care facility is closer than a hospital and your injuries aren’t severe, visiting a medical clinic may make more sense in the moment.
That said, if you have severe injuries, your New Rochelle car accident lawyer will advise you to visit the emergency room and not a medical clinic. Emergency room doctors may be more equipped to give you the necessary immediate treatment and identify any underlying injuries you may not have noticed. You may also be more likely to get a referral for a specialist if you visit the emergency room. If medical clinic staff cannot treat you, they will likely send you to the emergency room anyway.
Do I Get to Choose My Doctor After a Car Accident?
In most emergency cases, you might not be able to choose who gives you the immediate treatment you need. However, you can typically seek treatment from any doctor after the fact. There may be other restrictions you have to put up with regarding whether a doctor will take a case involving a potential lawsuit, whether payment will be accepted from your auto insurance, and whether your medical insurance covers that doctor.
After an accident, EMTs and ambulance crews typically need to take patients to the nearest hospital capable of treating their injuries. This sometimes means you cannot choose which hospital you go to, and EMTs might even need to take you further than you expected if the closest hospital is full or does not have the proper facilities to treat your injuries. For example, some hospitals are certified trauma facilities that are more capable of dealing with severe injuries, and you might need to be taken there first, for legal reasons, rather than going to a potentially closer, smaller hospital.
Doctors that Don’t Deal with Lawsuits
Many doctors will treat patients regardless of their cause of injury, and they are willing to provide documentation about your injury and your medical care knowing that it might be used in a lawsuit. These doctors typically need to be made aware that they could potentially be subpoenaed to testify about your injuries and their cause.
Other doctors simply refuse to put themselves in those situations. Talk to your doctor about whether they will treat you given the potential lawsuit or insurance claim on your hands. If they will not, your car accident lawyer might be able to recommend alternative options.
When Car Insurance Dictates Treatment
In some cases, especially where you have no-fault insurance and file a claim with your own insurance provider, the insurance company might try to dictate what doctors you have to use for your care. In these cases, insurance companies might want you to use doctors that they trust to provide only required care, report back about your injuries, and deny you unnecessary or overly expensive care. This can often be dangerous, and you should speak with a Yonkers car accident attorney about whether this is legal in your area or whether these insurance doctors are limited to reviews only.
However, it can often be beneficial to use a doctor that is able to bill to your auto insurance company. This often means fewer out-of-pocket payments up front. However, finding a doctor who takes car insurance payments in your area might be hard, so speak with your car accident lawyer.
Doctors Who Don’t Accept Your Insurance
If you end up having to use your own medical insurance to get the care you need, you could be entitled to have the deductibles and copays you paid out of pocket reimbursed through a lawsuit. However, you should speak with a car accident lawyer about whether that is the best option for your treatment in the first place, especially if other doctors will accept payment directly from the auto insurance companies.
Ultimately, if you do turn to your own health insurance, you should always be careful about selecting a doctor that is in your network and will not result in overly expensive medical fees. Even if you can get later reimbursement, only “reasonable” fees might be covered, which could potentially exclude the high self-pay rates from out-of-network doctors and health care providers. However, if you were away from home on a trip when your car accident happened, you might not have much of a choice about who you get follow-up care from.
Do I Need to See a Specialist After a Car Accident Injury?
Knowing what specific type of doctor to go to after an injury can be difficult. Your primary care provider can often help you make decisions about what kind of care you need, as can the doctor who initially treated you. Your car accident lawyers can also help coordinate your care and recommend visits with specialists who might be able to help with certain issues.
Although you may have heard seeing a specialist after a car accident can help your claim against a negligent driver, you may be unsure whether or not you need to see one for your injuries. A specialist is often necessary for treatment that deals with many specific types of injuries, such as the following:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries and head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Facial injuries and scarring
- Damage to specific organs like the heart, kidneys, or lungs
Depending on your injuries, you may need to regularly see a physical therapist to help you recover after a car accident. If you sustained a brain injury, you might need to see a neurologist to assess the extent of your injuries and apply an accurate diagnosis. Even if your injuries seem obscure or minor, you may still benefit from seeing several specialists after a car accident.
Additionally, follow-up care might need to come from specialists in cases involving rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more. This follow-up care is crucial, to show you are dedicated to healing and ultimately support your claim against a negligent party. The doctors who initially treat you will often recommend a course of follow-up care and rehab, if necessary. Your White Plains car accident lawyer can also review these recommendations and help coordinate your follow-up care.
What Happens if I Choose to Stop Medical Treatment After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident and are seeking compensatory damages against a negligent party in a lawsuit, you shouldn’t stop your medical treatment. While it’s your decision to stop seeking treatment, your car accident lawyer will strongly advise against it.
Sometimes, after receiving treatment for car accident injuries for months, victims may get frustrated. As hospital bills pile up, victims may begin to feel overwhelmed. They may want to stop going to physical therapy. They may start missing appointments. This can be very damaging to a car accident lawsuit.
Having gaps in medical treatment, or choosing to stop care, can harm your case against a negligent driver. Although it’s understandable to become overwhelmed by hospital bills and medical expenses, keeping your end goal in mind is important. That goal, of course, is to recover compensation against a negligent driver. Unfortunately, when victims halt their treatment, it can appear that they do not need compensation or are not dedicated to recovering.
It is important to remember that if your car accident lawsuit is successful, you will likely recover economic damages that compensate you for every hospital visit, prescription, and therapy resulting from a negligent driver’s actions. If you stop seeking medical care or never get it to begin with, there is nothing for you to be compensated for.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyers for Help Understanding Your Road to Recovery
At The Martello Law Firm, PLLC, our Mount Vernon car accident attorneys seek to help our clients recover from their accidents, and we can help you understand what treatment you should get to receive the care you need to move forward and gather the evidence you need to prove your case. For a free case evaluation, call us today at (914) 685-6950.