The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After an Accident: A Guide for Mainers

‘How long after an accident can you file a claim?’ or ‘Why you should seek medical attention after an accident?’ are two frequently asked questions we receive at Hardy, Wolf & Downing. First, Maine has a relatively generous statute of limitations for personal injury claims, granting individuals six years to file a claim from the accident date. While there are some exceptions, the majority of cases follow this timeframe.

Regarding the second question, understanding the necessary measures to take following an accident, particularly a car accident, is important to safeguard both your physical well-being and legal rights. A collision’s immediate aftermath can be filled with confusion and emotional distress. Those who can ‘walk away’ from an accident may not realize they have been injured or even know the extent of their injuries. Quite often, the adrenaline dump experienced in the aftermath of an accident can mask those injuries for a few hours or until the next morning or, in some instances, a few days. 

Just as importantly, in the hours after an accident, taking specific steps to document the harm you have suffered and preserve all relevant evidence regarding the circumstances of your injury can significantly improve your chances of achieving the desired outcome. The very first step should be to seek medical attention.

The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention

For your well-being, it is of utmost importance that you seek medical attention promptly after a serious car accident to safeguard your health. Above all, never refuse medical attention at the scene of an accident. If you seek compensation for your injuries, refusing medical attention can and will be used against you by the insurance company. This, in turn, can hurt your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have suffered due to the negligence of another.  

As mentioned, seeking medical attention is also important because certain injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately, sometimes taking several days to become noticeable. Your long-term health may depend on it. In such cases, it is important to diagnose these injuries accurately and begin treatment as soon as possible. This is particularly important for injuries that may not be outwardly visible; conditions such as whiplash, internal bleeding, or brain injuries might not surface right away. Failing to receive medical attention promptly can lead to a medical emergency that could have been prevented. This alone should highlight the significance of prioritizing your health after an accident.

Protecting Your Legal Rights

After an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. That’s why the steps you take immediately after the accident can significantly impact the success of your claim. Ways to protect your legal rights would begin by documenting what happened. By documenting the harm you have suffered, you create a solid foundation for your case. Insurance companies and opposing legal teams often scrutinize the actions taken immediately after an accident. This is another reason to seek prompt medical attention. Doing so shows that you took your injuries seriously, strengthening your credibility and the validity of your claim.

Getting medical attention promptly also helps establish a clear timeline of when the injuries occurred. This timeline is essential for your legal claim, as it demonstrates that the injuries directly resulted from the accident, countering any claims that they might have occurred later or from other causes. Any delays in seeking medical care can create gaps in treatment, which insurance companies might use to argue that your injuries are not severe or are unrelated to the accident.

Other steps to protect your legal rights could involve taking photographs of the scene and gathering contact information from witnesses. Additionally, preserving all available evidence ensures you have the necessary proof to support your claim. This evidence could include vehicle damage records, police reports, medical reports, and other documentation supporting your case.

Seeking medical attention after an accident is as much about your physical well-being as protecting your legal rights. The experienced car accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have the expertise and legal skills to successfully negotiate with insurers on your behalf. We work for you to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We will take your case to trial to achieve the desired outcome. For more information about our services or a free consultation, call Hardy, Wolf & Downing.

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