After calling 911, the most important thing you can do after an auto accident is go to the hospital or get treated by a doctor right away. Getting medical attention not only treats your immediate injuries and creates an official record linking them to your accident, but it can also rule out internal injuries that may become life-threatening.
Some auto accident victims delay or even forgo medical treatment after crashes because they don’t think they’re hurt enough to require attention. However, it’s common for pain, bruising, and other common symptoms of internal injuries to be masked by adrenaline and pain from other surface injuries. Meanwhile, victims may be experiencing severe internal organ damage or bleeding, putting them at risk of serious complications.
Going to the hospital or seeing a doctor right away after a crash can help rule out the following internal injuries:
- Liver and kidney damage—Both the liver and kidneys can be damaged during auto accidents, especially when the lower back or torso are hurt, but the damage may not be noticed for hours, days, or even weeks.
- Brain bleeding—Victims who suffer life-threatening cerebral hemorrhages may believe their symptoms, which can include nausea and pressure, are due to crash-related headaches and stress.
- Fractured ribs—Broken ribs are common during auto accidents, but the pain may not be noticed for hours or days after they occur. People who suffer broken ribs are at risk for damaged blood vessels and even punctured lungs.
Whether you travel to the hospital in an ambulance after the crash, arrange your own transportation, or see a doctor at a private health clinic, it’s important to get treated immediately.