After an accident, you should see your primary care doctor for treatment and follow-up, as well as any specialists that your doctor refers you to. If you have moderate to severe injuries, you will need to go to the emergency room and follow up with your primary care physician afterward.
Always See Your Doctor Following a Car Accident
Even if you think you are fine, you should still see your doctor for an examination, just to make sure you are okay. Strains, sprains, and whiplashes can take several days to manifest symptoms. Internal bleeding might not present signs right away until it is life-threatening. Even broken bones can be hard to detect at the scene of an accident.
Call 911 or Go to the Emergency Room for Severe Injuries
If the police say you need an ambulance, do not argue with them. Realize that you might be a little shell-shocked from the crash and that others can see things that you might not be able to observe or process right now. They are looking at you from the perspective of an unbiased outsider. If you look badly hurt to a stranger, you probably need an ambulance.
You should call 911 if you are experiencing:
- Severe pain
- Shortness of breath
- Profuse bleeding
- Deep lacerations
- Broken bones
- Head injury
- Neck or back injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Confusion, or
- Any other symptom that concerns you as urgent
You should not try to drive yourself to the emergency room. If an ambulance is not an option, have someone drive you to the hospital if you need emergency treatment.
What Happens If My Doctor Sends Me to A Specialist?
The specialist will do whatever the referring doctor asked him to do. Usually, after a car accident, your doctor will ask the specialist to perform a consultation or workup to explore your condition within the specialist’s field, or to rule out something specific, such as an orthopedic surgeon checking to see if you have a herniated disc. The term “rule out” does not mean to prove that you do not have a particular injury. It means that your regular doctor wants the specialist to see if you have the condition.
After the specialist completes the tasks requested in the referral, she will send your primary care physician a report with her findings and recommendations. Your regular doctor will then decide the next steps for treatment. The next step might be for your doctor’s office to contact your insurance company for authorization to start treatment for your injuries. Your primary care physician will organize the medical care for your injuries.
For example, if your doctor sent you to an orthopedic surgeon to evaluate a knee injury you sustained in a crash, the surgeon might order x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, and other diagnostic work. The surgeon will then send your regular doctor a report with a diagnosis and a recommendation that you have surgical repair of your knee trauma. Your treating physician agrees and gets the authorization from your insurance company for the surgery.
You have the knee surgery, and then the orthopedic surgeon sends you to have physical therapy and post-surgical rehabilitation. After you finish the therapy and rehabilitation, the orthopedic surgeon will see you once more to evaluate your condition. When you have achieved full recovery or as much improvement as the surgeon thinks is possible, his work is complete, and he releases you back to your regular doctor, who will see you in an office visit as a follow-up.
What Types of Doctors Treat People Who Have Injuries from Car Accidents?
Quite a few medical fields can become involved in the care and management of crash trauma. Some of these are:
- Emergency room physician
- Radiologist to read the x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs, and other imaging studies
- Trauma surgeon
- Orthopedic surgeon
- Neurologist or neurosurgeon
- Burn specialist
- Plastic surgeon
- General surgeon for internal injuries
- Physical, occupational, and vocational therapist
The personal injury attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. are happy to talk to you about your car accident injury claim. Call us today at 631-600-0000 to get your no-cost, no-obligation consultation.