When Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

If you are ever involved in a car accident, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Sometimes people delay seeking medical attention right away because they don’t feel any pain or other effects from the crash, or because they believe the pain is minor. However, it’s possible to have sustained a personal injury, even if you feel fine right after the crash because symptoms of a serious injury are not always immediately visible. There are good physical and legal reasons to seek out a medical evaluation nonetheless.

The Physical Risks of Delaying Treatment

Our bodies respond to high-stress events by pumping adrenaline, the hormone associated with the “fight or flight” response, throughout your body to prepare your body for action. Adrenaline dulls our ability to sense and perceive pain. As a result, you may not be able to tell that you have actually been seriously injured until the adrenaline wears off some time later. For example, whiplash commonly occurs as the result of an automobile accident and may include injury to intervertebral joints, discs, and ligaments, cervical muscles, and nerve roots. Symptoms such as neck pain may be delayed for several days.

By delaying seeking medical attention, you could make a minor injury much worse. Your doctor will be in the best position to determine whether you sustained any serious injuries in the accident. Your doctor can also give you advice on monitoring symptoms of potential injuries, including the sorts of red flags to watch out for.

The Legal Risks of Delayed Treatment

The longer you wait to see a doctor after the car accident, the more difficult it will be to prove that any injuries you sustained were the result of the car crash. Unfortunately, the insurance company will make it their top priority to discredit your claim and diminish the severity of your injuries, especially if you wait a while before seeking medical attention. Insurers have standard criteria that they use to evaluate all types of car accidents, and one of those criteria is how promptly you sought and received medical treatment after the accident. You should see a doctor within the first 72 hours of the crash, which is the standard time period insurance companies use when evaluating claims.


If you plan to have the negligent driver that caused the accident pay for your medical bills and treatments, then you need to have valid records documenting your injuries and necessary treatments immediately following the accident. These records are needed for filing a claim with the insurance company.

  • Take pictures of any bruises, cuts, scrapes, or other visible injuries.
  • Document any pain or other symptoms.
  • Document your medical expenses, both immediate and ongoing.
  • Gather proof of financial losses, such as lost wages and opportunities.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you were recently involved in a car accident, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away. You should also hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with your claim. At Clay, Massey & Associates, we can help you take the appropriate steps following a crash so that you can fight to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our office, contact or call us at 251-433-1000 today.