Always Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident
As the nation recovers from the pandemic and its restrictions, people are driving their cars more and more, and as a result, crashes and fatalities are rising. Houston is even outpacing the state of Texas in some relevant statistics.
Traffic crashes in Texas rose 87,000 from 2020 to 632,985 in 2021, a 15.9 percent increase, while in Houston, crashes rose from 65,912 to 75,336, an increase of just 14 percent, but fatalities increased from 275 to 330, an increase of 20 percent.
Those 75,336 crashes equate to more than 206 accidents a day in Houston, so if you’re driving off to work or to a shopping mall, your odds of being in a traffic accident are fairly high. A lot of us, when involved in a crash, will shrug off any personal injury unless it is obvious, but you should never take possible injuries for granted.
An adrenaline rush and the natural resilience of our bodies can often mask injuries that may appear hours, days, or even weeks later. The message is – don’t take your crash and its effect on you for granted, but seek medical evaluation as soon as possible.
Not only will this help protect your well-being, but it will also provide needed documentary evidence should you need to seek compensation through auto coverage or a personal injury lawsuit. Always remember: seemingly small injuries, aggravated over time, can become large injuries. But by then, it may be too late to prove your injuries are related to a car crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Houston or anywhere in the counties of Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, or Brazoria, Texas, contact the personal injury attorneys at Ellis & Thomas, PLLC. We will fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Common Car Accident Injuries
The most common injuries suffered in auto accidents can be broken down into five categories:
Soft Tissue Injuries: These are the most common, resulting in damage to the body’s connective tissues – muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In addition, whiplash is also a soft tissue injury, as are mid-back and lower-back sprains.
Scrapes and Cuts: Cell phones, coffee mugs, books, and even dash-mounted GPS devices can all go flying, resulting in cuts to your skin or other injuries. Airbags, when they deploy, also can cause cuts and scrapes.
Head Injuries: During the impact of the crash, your head can be thrust about, resulting in muscle sprains to the neck and back, but also to the head, which may be bruised or cut. You could also end up with a concussion or a worst-case scenario, traumatic brain injury.
Chest Injuries: Injuries to the chest can result from colliding with the steering wheel or the dashboard. The result can range from bruises to broken ribs and internal injuries.
Arm and Leg Injuries: The impact of a collision can also throw your arms and legs about, thrusting them against doors, the dashboard, or the seat in front of rear passengers. The result can be scrapes, bruises, sprains, or even broken arms and legs.
Reasons to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
As mentioned earlier, an adrenaline rush or other physical defense mechanisms can mask injuries after a car crash. Symptoms may not appear for hours, days, or perhaps weeks later. For your own sake, you should never take a crash for granted but seek immediate medical evaluation. If you wait too long, the treatment and recovery can be more difficult, and your pain will linger more than it should have.
There is also the practical aspect to seeking immediate medical evaluation – filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit for compensation for medical expenses and other losses, such as days missed from work without pay and even pain and suffering.
Texas is an at-fault auto insurance state. In the words of the Texas Department of Insurance, a "fault" system is one that requires drivers to "pay for the accidents they cause."
Accordingly, if you’re injured in an auto accident caused by another driver, you have three choices on how to recover compensation. You can file what is called a first-party insurance claim with your own insurance company, which will then seek recovery from the at-fault driver’s insurer. You can also directly file with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which is known as a third-party claim. The other alternative is to directly file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Time is of the essence when dealing with insurance companies. They all insert provisions in their policies that you must file a claim in a timely manner, which usually means days or at most a week or two. If you wait longer, they can question whether you were actually injured, and then a sparring match can ensue between you and the claims adjuster assigned to your case.
Following Through on Your Treatment Plan
Another aspect that insurance companies typically question is the extent of a your injuries and whether you’re following through on your treatment regimen. If you constantly miss appointments with a physical therapist or medical professional, that can be a telltale sign that you’re not as injured as you claim, and the insurer can erect hurdles in your compensation quest.
Getting the Experienced Legal Guidance You Need
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident, it’s best to seek legal advice and let your attorney handle the insurance claims adjusters or advise you if it’s better to just file a personal injury lawsuit. Claims adjusters are trained to get you to say or do something that they can use to lowball or even deny your claim. Attorneys are better equipped to handle their questions and challenges.
Our team at Ellis & Thomas, PLLC, is familiar with insurance company tactics. We can handle the claims adjusters for you or even take the matter to court. Ellis & Thomas, PLLC proudly serves clients in Houston and throughout the counties of Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, and Brazoria, Texas.