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David G. Smith, Attorney At Law

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510-431-2598

Call for a free consultation
510-431-2598

Representing Bay Area Clients
In Personal Injury Claims Since 1978

Why You Should Get Medical Treatment After An Auto Accident—Even During COVID-19

If you’ve been injured in a vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, we advise our clients to seek medical attention right away. During a pandemic, medical treatment might look a little different, but the same advice applies.

Why You Should Seek Medical Attention

Even if you think your injuries aren’t serious, it’s important to visit the emergency room, an urgent care clinic, or your primary care doctor as soon as possible. A doctor may detect injuries beyond physical cuts and bruises.

For example, whiplash and concussion symptoms often don’t appear for a few days or more after your accident. And if not treated quickly, both can lead to serious complications. A simple backache may be a herniated disc. You need medical attention to diagnose this problem.

A doctor visit also generates a medical record, which is important if you decide to pursue a personal injury case. A medical record serves as proof of your injuries and the medical treatment you need to be compensated for. If you need ongoing treatment or future treatment, the medical record serves as a foundation for that evidence, as well.

If your case includes compensation for time missed from work, you need evidence to justify that time off. If you take time off work, your medical record proves you really did need that time to recover. If you don’t get medical treatment, or take time off work, the other party could make a case that you weren’t hurt as badly as you claimed.

Seeking Treatment During COVID-19

It’s understandable to be afraid to visit the ER during the pandemic. The Emergency Design Collective surveyed patients about their feelings toward hospitals during COVID-19. Most felt hospitals carried a high risk of virus exposure and didn’t know when to visit the ER. They also generally weren’t aware of all the safety protocols hospitals have put in place.

To clear things up a bit, if you’re experiencing a true emergency, such as trauma from a car accident, head straight to the ER as you normally would. These facilities have put screening and cleaning protocols in place to keep you safe. For example, Dignity Health does the following:

    • Everyone is required to wear a mask at all times.
    • Before entry, everyone is screened via a temperature check and health-related questions.
    • Patients with symptoms are routed to a dedicated waiting area. They are isolated from healthy patients.
    • The main waiting areas have additional space between chairs to create physical distancing.
    • Public spaces and exam rooms are cleaned and sanitized several times throughout the day.
    • Physicians and staff wash hands frequently and wear appropriate PPE.

Bay Area ERs all follow similar protocols. Now that “rapid” tests are more available, clinicians can test for COVID-19 and have results within 30 minutes. Patients that test positive get routed to a dedicated, isolated ward.

ER Alternatives: Urgent Care and Virtual Visits

If your injuries aren’t life-threatening, consider your local urgent care clinic. These clinics follow similar rigorous screening and sanitation protocols and can treat minor injuries.

If you’re high risk, if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or simply not comfortable visiting a doc in person, schedule a video visit. Depending on the extent of your injuries and/or your symptoms, the doctor may ask you to come in.

Clients who have had to visit the ER over the past few months have said they feel safer there than at the grocery store!

If you’re seriously injured and need immediate medical care, know the hospitals and ERs are doing everything they can to keep you safe.

When you’re ready, call our office for a free consultation.

Photo courtesy of Micheal J, Flickr

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