After a Car Accident: Protecting Your Rights at the Hospital
When another driver injures you, the aftermath of a car accident is pretty overwhelming. Not only do you have to think fast during a critical moment, but bodily harm causes severe pain that takes over your entire central nervous system.
If someone injured you in a car accident, the only thing you should think about is getting help from a licensed doctor. While the prospect of rising medical costs may alarm you, there are legal options available so that you get the care you need.
However, retaining those options requires you to protect your legal rights during every interaction with your medical provider. Your medical records are admissible for evidentiary purposes when negotiating with insurance companies or litigating your personal injury case.
In this blog post, I help you understand when you should visit with a doctor after an accident and how to handle your dealings with the hospital while receiving treatment. If you have specific legal questions, make sure you address them with a New Mexico personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
When Should You Go to an ER After a Car Accident?
Emergency responders will transport injury victims to the emergency room for immediate medical attention. If your injuries do not require an ambulance ride to the ER, it may be in your best interests to take yourself or coordinate with a family member or friend to drive you there.
Otherwise, schedule an emergency visit with your primary care physician (PCP) as soon as you possibly can. Why? Some injuries cause delayed symptoms and can become life-threatening if left unmanaged.
Your health and well-being are too vital to put at risk with unnecessary delays. A physician will ensure that you are safe while adequately documenting your injuries for medical and legal purposes.
What to Do If You Have to Visit the Emergency Room After a Car Accident
When sent to the emergency room for care, you may or may not be able to immediately handle certain aspects. Remember that you can only do what you can do considering the circumstances. Just do your best to report all injuries and follow your doctor’s orders.
Whether you visit the ER via an ambulance or your own accord, you have a few obligations to keep in mind, including:
- Speak frankly with your doctor: Some injuries, like brain and spinal cord trauma, may only cause minor pain. Now is not the best time to downplay your injuries, no matter how trivial they seem. Speak frankly with your doctor and tell them exactly what you are feeling. Doing so ensures that you receive adequate treatment from the start.
- Avoid describing the accident in excruciating detail: Though you should always speak frankly about your physical ailments, it may not be in your best wise to share every detail about the accident. Subject to the medical provider's further inquiry, limit the amount of information you provide to your doctor about the details of the accident. He or she may record your opinions in your medical records which may potentially be mischaracterized and used against you
- Be careful about the paperwork you sign: Hospital staffers will ask you to sign a monumental amount of paperwork to advise you of your rights and cover their liabilities. Make sure that you read every document carefully and do not sign anything without understanding what it means.
After your doctor discharges you from the emergency room, follow all his or her orders explicitly. It is likely that the doctor will advise you to schedule follow-up appointments with your primary care physician to continue your treatment. Make sure that you follow all recommended follow-ups and aftercare.
When to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer for Santa Fe, New Mexico
Contacting a Santa Fe personal injury attorney will help you understand your rights. This assertion is true even if you are still in the hospital.
In fact, an experienced lawyer will generally offer to visit you since any travel could impede your physical progress. Make sure you read this article for help when determining if you need a lawyer, as well.
In addition to personalized legal attention, your attorney will help you handle the aftermath of your car accident injuries in other ways, too:
Insurance Company Negotiations
During a free consultation, I will provide insight into your situation as well as help you understand what legal options you have available to pursue adequate compensation for all of your losses, including medical bills, lost work wages, and mental anguish.
Insurers carry a reputation for undervaluing personal injury claims. This belief is for good reason since this is generally how they make a profit. Your attorney will investigate your accident, preserve evidence, and handle the negotiation aspects for you. He or she will also assist you in determining what your case might be worth.
Exercising Other Legal Options
If the insurance company does not provide adequate compensation, your lawyer has the historical knowledge of your case to pursue your claim in court, including demanding a jury trial promptly. However, there are time limits on your ability to file a claim, which means that it is imperative to reach out sooner than later.
No Upfront Attorneys’ Fees
Did you know that reputable personal injury lawyers do not charge you anything upfront to take on your case? This fact typically surprises people. If you can hire a top-rated personal injury lawyer on contingency fees, you will owe nothing unless he or she wins your case.
FREE CONSULTATIONS with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If another person injured you or a loved one after a car accident in Santa Fe or surrounding areas, reach out to my office as soon as possible. As a New Mexico personal injury lawyer for Santa Fe, I will fight back against your detractors and unsavory insurance companies.
Call me for a FREE consultation at 505-587-8649. You can also send me a private message through my online contact form.