What to do after an auto accident:
At the scene of the auto accident:
- Try to stay calm and be respectful in a stressful situation, regardless of fault.
- Do an emergency assessment first. Make sure there are no life-threatening injuries. Call 911 if needed.
- Once you know everyone, including people in the other vehicle are okay, do the following:
- Take pictures of the scene and vehicles. Then clear lanes of traffic if possible.
- Note the license plate of the other vehicle.
- Exchange information (regardless of the injury or vehicle damage).
- Notify police if necessary.
After the auto accident:
- See a certified motor vehicle injury specialist. Seek follow-up care even if you have been to the ER. Remember, their job isn’t to get you better, their job is to make sure your do not have life-threating injuries and to give initial precursory care, set and cast fractures, clean and stitch lacerations and abrasions and perform emergency surgery. To diminish chronic scar tissue, avoid a lapse in care. See a certified motor vehicle injury specialist as soon as possible. A Certified Dr. will do the following:
- Check for headaches. A certified Doctor will take special precautions to pay special attention to your history and catch little details that can be important to your care. For instance, did you know that concussions can go unnoticed immediately after a auto accident? Signs and symptoms may come on later, as small amounts of bleeding and swelling can accumulate and manifest hours or even days after an auto accident. Other headache can come from the suboccipital area , or the jaw (temporal mandibular joint -TMJ). A certified Doctor will determine what kind of headache you have and treat you specifically and appropriately to help you get the best results, not just mask the pain from the auto accident.
- Check your spine. Spinal injuries can be serious. Anything from simple sprains to more serious ligament tearing causing instability to hidden spinal fractures and quadriplegia. Any doctor will catch the obvious injuries but a whiplash certified Doctor will look for those hidden injuries.
- Check your heart. Did you know that when an air bag goes off it can hit your chest so hard that it can cause your heart to beat in an abnormal pattern? This is called arrhythmia. A certified Doctor will check to make sure you are okay or refer you to the appropriate specialist.
- Check your extremities. Other injuries such as knee injuries from going under the dash, or arm and hand injuries caused from Air bags are common.
- Keep a journal. Include quality of life changes that create a loss of enjoyment and set that as a goal to get back to these recreational sports hobbies or interests. A certified Doctor will make sure that these important quality of life changes are documented and help chart your recovery.
- If not at fault, consider seeking legal counsel from a certified personal injury attorney. You don’t want uncle Joe on this one. The atmosphere today for personal injuries is complicated. In order for you to be able to focus on your healing and avoid dealing with insurance companies and medical bills, a competent legal team can be very beneficial. We work with a number of qualified attorneys who can aid in your recovery by dealing with the financial and legal aspects of your situation.
- Follow through with your Doctor recommendations. In order to maximize healing and minimize future problems, always stick to your Doctor’s planned course of treatment.