How Much Time Do I Have to See a Doctor After an Auto Accident?

How Much Time Do I Have to See a Doctor After an Auto Accident?

Auto accidents can be a frightening experience. Of course, if there is a serious or life-threatening injury at the scene of an accident, you’ll be seen by a medical professional right away. For other injuries, it may not be so pressing, and if there doesn’t seem to be an immediate injury, it can be tempting to put off seeing a doctor. This is not a good idea — here’s why.

Waiting Can Make Things Worse

Auto accident injuries don’t always manifest themselves right away. It can take a little bit of time for “fine” to become “not fine,” and by then, more damage may have already been done. Instead, see a doctor as soon as you’re able to, even if you only have mild pain (or no pain at all).

One reason accident injuries aren’t apparent right away is because our bodies send adrenaline and endorphins through our bodies from the accident itself, which can help increase energy and block pain. Since car accidents generally produce a high level of force, these chemicals can cover up any soft tissue damage or other damage you may have sustained.

Also, waiting for things to become bad enough to warrant a doc visit is never a good idea for other reasons. For example, you may alter your gait to accommodate for what seems like a mild knee injury, furthering the damage you’ve experienced and developing (or exacerbating) issues in another body part. Another reason is that the injury can continue to get worse without treatment. Early treatment and care can often prevent injuries from wreaking further havoc on your body.

Timing Affects Medical Billing

Additionally, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) requires that the insured be seen within 14 days from the date of the accident for initial treatment. Your PIP coverage won’t cover your medical care if you wait to see a doctor beyond two weeks, which is, of course, a huge concern for those who have been in an auto accident. You can lose your PIP benefits if you delay, which can be a huge financial loss.

It’s also important to seek out a doctor who knows how to handle your PIP claim and how to bill it. Your regular practitioner may refuse to see you following an auto accident because they’re not set up to properly bill your insurance. Doctors who specialize in auto accident injuries are the better choice for another reason — they are experts in the sorts of injuries that result from an auto accident and are best suited for taking care of you.

Don’t Delay Medical Care

If you’ve been through an auto accident, don’t hesitate to seek medical care. Delaying your initial visit could not only result in the loss of your PIP coverage and become a financial burden, but it can contribute to more health problems down the line. Early treatment can be the difference between ongoing issues and a full recovery as well as keeping your ducks in a row as far as insurance billing goes.

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