How Soon Should a Physician Examine You After a Bicycle Crash?
You should call for an ambulance at the collision scene or go to the emergency room immediately if you suffered severe injuries. Even if you suffered less serious injuries or do not believe you are hurt, you must be examined by a doctor within 72 hours of your bicycle accident.
Why Is It Important to See a Doctor Soon After Your Bike Collision?
It is best for your health and claim for compensation for your injuries to seek prompt medical care after a bicycle accident. Here are three reasons why this is so important.
Reason #1: You Protect Your Health
An important reason to obtain prompt medical care is to protect your health. If you suffered an apparent injury, it might be an easy decision to go to the emergency room or urgent care or to make an immediate doctor appointment.
If you suffered what you believe is a minor injury or no apparent injuries, you may not realize that you were hurt. However, you may have suffered a serious injury. The symptoms of some injuries can take days or longer to develop because of shock, adrenaline, or other reasons.
An injury could worsen or become life-threatening if a doctor does not examine you right away. Common delayed injuries that you may not realize you suffered include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
Reason # 2: You Strengthen Your Claim
You are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you prove a negligent driver caused your bicycle accident. You must also establish the seriousness of your injuries, the medical treatments you need, and the damages you deserve.
Your medical record and doctor's opinions on your injuries are crucial to building a strong case. If a doctor examined you within 72 hours of the bike crash and has strong medical evidence, this may even expedite the settlement of your claim.
Reason #3: You Avoid Disputes With the Insurance Company
The insurance company could use unfair tactics to deny your claim, delay paying you, and force you to accept less money in your settlement to save money. You give them ammunition to do this if you wait to seek medical treatment because you decided to tough it out or did not believe you were hurt. Common arguments that the insurance adjuster could make include the following:
- Another incident caused your injuries. One common argument the insurance company might make is that your injuries are pre-existing and caused by another incident or that another incident caused it after your bike collision. The longer you wait to seek medical care—the harder it becomes to prove your injuries were caused by the crash.
- Your injuries are not that serious. The other dispute the insurance adjuster could raise is about the seriousness of your injuries. They might try to claim that you would have sought immediate medical care if your injuries were as serious as you claim.
Even if you did not know you should have been examined by a physician right away and otherwise have a solid case, disputes like this can weaken your claim and result in you receiving less than you are entitled to under California law. However, a knowledgeable bicycle crash lawyer can help minimize the negative effects of not getting prompt medical care.