The holidays are here and all across the state, individuals are hitting the roads for visits with family and friends. While this time of year is filled with joy and happiness, it is also a time for increased automobile accident related injuries. Bad weather, alcohol consumption, and reckless driving all contribute to this rise in occurrences. When accidents occur, it is important that you take steps to protect your rights and preserve your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. The actions you take immediately following the incident can have long-lasting effects on your legal case and can even cause you to miss out on the compensation you and your family deserve.
One of the first actions you need take at an accident scene is the decision to accept medical treatment from emergency responders. Immediately following the incident, you might not feel seriously injured, assume that medical attention is not necessary, and refuse treatment. This is one time where listening to your body can prove to be a big mistake.
Numerous conditions do not immediately result in pain:
- Whiplash is injury to the soft tissues of the neck, but it can also damage neural pathways to extremities and the spine. Symptoms of the condition include headaches, muscle spasms, stiffness and a decreased range of movement;
- Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries that may present themselves as headaches, dizziness, memory loss or disorientation. Left untreated, these injuries can become significantly worse, possibly leading to loss of consciousness, seizures, and decreased cognitive functions; and
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a term to describe the emotional stress that can occur following a traumatic event in your life. Symptoms of PTSD may not appear for weeks or months following your automobile accident.
In addition to the delayed symptoms of these specific conditions, your pain may also not be immediately felt due to shock. As explained by orthopedics.com, the body reacts to the trauma of an accident by producing endorphins. These hormones can block the feeling of pain, leading to a false belief that you are not injured.
Accept Medical Assistance
When emergency medical personnel arrive on the scene, accept the help that they offer. Allow yourself to be checked out and, if the paramedics advise a transport to the emergency room, follow their advice. When insurance companies are considering compensation pay outs, they often consider what occurred directly following the accident. Your failure to accept medical treatment or visit the emergency room can be seen as a lack of serious injury, which can result in their refusal to offer a decent settlement offer.
If the case proceeds to court, insurance lawyers may use your failure to accept treatment to argue against your credibility. They could potentially convince the court to question the severity of your injuries, leading to a significantly decreased damage award or even no compensation at all.
Work with an Illinois Automobile Accident Attorney
When an automobile accident occurs, the assistance of an experienced automobile accident attorney is vital to the success of your case. The S.A.M. LAW OFFICE can provide you with the knowledgeable and compassionate representation you deserve. Contact the office today for a free consultation.