When to See a Doctor After a Car Accident

After suffering serious injuries from a major car accident, your top priority should always be to seek medical attention. Do not wait to go to the doctor after a car accident, or it may worsen your current condition or current injuries, leading to severe long-term health issues.

Waiting to go to a medical professional after an accident may also have a negative impact on your personal injury claim. Therefore, the sooner you see a doctor, the better. Here’s what happens when victims of car accidents wait too long before seeking medical treatment.

The Consequences of Not Seeing a Doctor After a Car Accident

Through the years, Orange County has recorded thousands of motor vehicle accidents resulting in serious car accident injuries and unfortunate fatalities. After an accident, it would appear obvious to seek medical treatment. However, It is a common behavior amongst people–not just in Southern California but throughout the US, as well– to skip seeing a doctor. Typically, this is because people believe that they are fine after an accident.

You must understand that soft tissue injuries and traumatic brain injuries can start showing signs and symptoms hours or sometimes days after a car accident. If left untreated, a traumatic brain injury can lead to permanent damage, affect motor functions, and even result in death. A soft tissue injury can possibly heal on its own in a few weeks, but lingering symptoms of discomfort may take months to recover from.

You might have suffered an injury that is apparent but does not seem to be too painful. In this scenario, the misconception is that the injury will heal on its own. While this is not completely implausible, untreated injuries can heal improperly. A broken bone or fracture, for example, can grow back crooked and cause chronic pain for the rest of your life.

Sometimes delayed injuries may even result in long-term disabilities or even death. Therefore, what may appear to be a minor injury can get worse if not taken care of by medical staff on time. Injured accident victims should not wait to see a doctor for medical help after a car accident.

Benefits of Seeing a Doctor After a Car Accident

While seeing a doctor is always a good idea to ensure that you have not sustained any serious injury, here are three of the most significant benefits of seeing a doctor after a car accident.

Addressing Pain Before It Worsens

You must not ignore any aches or pains after your accident. You should immediately seek medical care if you feel even the mildest discomfort. However, the pain may not appear right away, so it is still advisable to see a doctor after a car accident to rule out any danger or underlying issues. By doing so, you can rectify any future episodes of aches and pains.

In addition, you get peace of mind that you are in good shape with no hidden injury or damage to your organs, head, or anywhere else on the body.

A Doctor Can Be Your Ally in Insurance Claims

If you have to file a car accident claim, the insurance provider will ask for several pieces of information to assess your claim. This is where you will need a medical report with details about your injuries and other problems caused by the accident.

Waiting to see a physician can be viewed as not being in enough pain to get help, therefore indicating that the supposed injuries do not warrant compensation. At least, this is the counterargument that insurance adjusters will make.

The longer you leave it to see a doctor after a car accident, the weaker your medical claim will be. The delay will give the insurance provider a chance to claim that the injury was due to your negligence, as you did not see the doctor soon enough.

A standard rule of thumb from most insurance providers is to consider seeing a doctor no later than 72 hours (3 days) after the car accident. Waiting any longer than that can jeopardize your personal injury claim.

Improve Your Car Accident Claim

If you are in a car accident and it was someone else’s fault, you will have to deal with the other party’s insurance provider to pay your medical bills. However, that insurance company will try their best to get away with paying you the minimum amount than you what you actually deserve. If they succeed, you will be left paying for the difference in cost and any other future treatment.

Seeing a doctor immediately after an accident allows for more opportunity to record every small detail from cuts to fractures to psychological trauma. This will prevent the insurance provider of the party at fault from discrediting or undermining the severity of your injuries.

The longer you wait to see a doctor after a car accident, the harder it will be for you to prove that your injury resulted from the car crash. Therefore, always ensure timely medical attention to record all examinations and recommended course of treatment by the doctors. This detailed record will help strengthen your legal claim for compensation against the party that caused the accident.


Even if you feel fine after an accident, you must see a doctor to rule out any underlying issue. In case you have been in an accident and wish to make a legal claim, it is best to speak to a local car accident lawyer with expertise in personal injury law. To learn more, contact our legal team in Newport Beach at Beach Accident Attorneys today. We offer free consultations to get started.

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