After a car accident, no matter how minor, no one is thinking straight. It is easy for details to slip your mind, even though these details might become very important if you end up needing to file a car accident lawsuit related to the accident. Some of the most important evidence you might need in a lawsuit is on your own body. Therefore, even if you are not in any pain, and you think you have not been injured, it is important to go to the emergency room almost immediately and to receive as thorough documentation as you can regarding your injuries from the accident and the treatment they may require now or in the future. Here are four questions that you should ask in the emergency room after a car accident.
Will You Provide Documentation of When I Arrived?
The longer you wait to go to the emergency room after a car accident, the less strong your evidence that your injuries resulted from the car accident. Sometimes patients, especially those without visible serious injuries, have to wait a very long time in the emergency room before a doctor sees them, or even before a nurse checks their vital signs. Sometimes the ER staff will give you a hospital bracelet as soon as you arrive, and it may document your arrival time. If this is not the case, the best thing you can do is take a picture of yourself signing in. Make sure your hand, with a watch showing the time and date, is visible in the picture, as are the parts of the sign-in sheet showing your name and the name of the hospital.
Will You Take Pictures of How I Looked After the Accident?
Not all injuries have really obvious signs, but even the location of minor scratches, or smudges of dirt, can give clues as to how the accident happened. If you do not have a family member or friend with you in the ER to take these pictures, ask the ER staff to do it. Email the pictures from your phone to a family member, since the email will show when the pictures were mailed.
What Caused Each of My Injuries?
A report from the emergency room will contain a diagnosis. Ask the physician to include information in the report about what he or she thinks caused each of the injuries. Ask the doctor to be as specific as possible in his or her report.
What Kind of Treatment Will I Require?
When you go to the emergency room, it is typical to receive an information sheet about your diagnosis and the treatment recommended for your condition. If possible, get more specific instructions than this. Have the emergency room physician include specific instructions in his or her report regarding follow-up treatment.
The Role of Your Primary Care Physician
As soon as possible, perhaps even while you are in the emergency room waiting to be seen by the ER physician, you should call your primary care doctor to make an appointment. Your primary care physician can provide information relevant to your car accident lawsuit that the emergency room physician cannot provide. This is to say that your primary care physician has detailed records of your medical history, whereas the emergency room does not. The ER can prove that your injuries started at the time of your accident and not after. Meanwhile, your primary care physician can prove that your injuries started at the time of your accident and not before. He or she can show that nothing in your medical history would cause the kind of symptoms you started having after the accident. Additionally, if you require treatment by a specialist, you might need a referral from your primary care doctor.
When you first speak to a lawyer about a car accident lawsuit, bring as much documentation as possible. These are some things you should bring to your legal consultation:
- Pictures from the scene of the accident, and pictures of your injury
- Any medical bills related to the accident
- The emergency room report and any other relevant medical records
Contact Schneider Hammers About Car Accident Lawsuits
If you suffered a personal injury from a car accident, you may be entitled to more compensation than what the insurance company offers you. Contact one of our attorneys at Schneider Hammers in Atlanta, Georgia for a legal consultation.