The biggest mistake you make following a car accident
If you’ve never been involved in a car accident before it is hard to know what to do. Even those who have been, still make a huge mistake that can have an impact for the rest of your life.
What is that mistake?
You don’t get examined following the accident.
Oh you may go to the Emergency Room, or see your family MD, but you don’t typically get examined by a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating injuries that are frequently seen following a car accident.
Your family doctor isn’t trained in how to diagnosis or treat the injuries suffered as a result of car accident.
The ER doctor is going to make sure it is safe for you to leave the hospital, that there are no immediate, life threatening injuries.
But what about injuries that impact your “Quality of Life”?
Improperly diagnosed and treated injuries following car accidents lead to untold amounts of suffering later in life, and it is so unnecessary.
I understand how disruptive even a seemingly minor car accident can be. I feel lost without my cell phone, but without my car? Forget about it. That doesn’t even begin to touch on the hassles of dealing with insurance companies or auto body shops. It becomes so easy to talk yourself into the idea that, “It wasn’t that big a deal.”
But to carry that sentiment over to your overall well being is very short sighted, and can lead to permanent disabling effects to you.
It is possible for symptoms not to even show up for up to 12 weeks following a car accident.
I can’t begin to tell you the number of patients I have had over the years, who come in to consult with me, complaining of unexplained pain in their body. They tell me they have never experienced this pain before and have no idea what they may have done to create it.
When I get around to asking, “Have you ever had an accident, fallen off a roof, kicked by a horse?” They will often times tell me about a car accident they had a few months ago, “Not much damage to my car, I felt OK.” Well guess what…
That is most likely the cause of their new symptoms.
In fact there is even a diagnostic code for, latent effects of a motor vehicle accident.
Because for us doctors who are aware of such things, we can recognize the symptoms as being the result of a car accident.
For every type of injury you experience, there are certain types of symptoms you expect to see, based upon the “Mechanism of Injury.”
Here are some examples: If a dog bites you,expect to see puncture wounds in a set pattern. If you get splashed with hot oil while cooking, expect to see burns or blisters where the oil hit. Make sense?
Well, the same is true with car accidents. There are parts of your body that are expected to have injuries based upon the direction of impact, the force of impact and your position in the car. But…
If you don’t get examined, or if your doctor doesn’t know what they are looking for,
Those injuries can go unnoticed and therefore untreated. And left untreated…can get worse and worse and lead to much bigger problems later in your life.
The solution to this whole situation is easy…
If you are involved in a car accident, even a seemingly minor one, get yourself examined.
But make sure the doctor doing the exam knows what they are doing, and what they are looking for.
You wouldn’t go to a cardiologist for a broken leg, or an orthopedist for a heart problem. Find a doctor who treats car accident injuries, and ask questions.
Ask if how often they treat people involved in car accidents. Ask what is the anticipated treatment plan, and make sure you feel comfortable with the doctor.
For the past 28 years I have been treating people from all over the San Francisco Bay Area who have been involved in car accidents, at my office in San Mateo.