When to see doctor after car accident

It is obvious that knowing when to see a doctor after a car accident is determined by the urgency of the case. There are common car accident injuries that require immediate attention by specialist doctors.

However, also minor injuries that we consider less important need to be treated. There are internal injuries that do not manifest at the time of the accident, but appear some time later. The advisable thing then, is to have a medical examination after the accident, even when there are no symptoms or injuries.


Los Angeles injury lawyers from the office of Lluis Law have over 50 years of experience helping victims in these painful situations. We have managed to recover millions of dollars in damages, through claims with the best results.

When should you visit the doctor after a car accident?

It is important to know in advance how the delay in seeking medical treatment can affect a case. For this reason, it is crucial to receive immediate medical attention after the accident to show the injuries suffered and their severity.

In addition, seeking medical attention in the shortest possible time is important for your health and as well as for increasing your chances of the payment for compensation. To file a personal injury claim, it is essential to first obtain a medical report.

Attending urgent care will prevent health complications, may rule out internal injuries and will help your claim as stated before. It is an act of negligence to endanger one’s life by not going to emergency care.

The costs of hospitalization and general medical treatment in an emergency room are recoverable. Your car crash attorneys can better explain how to get enough compensation to cover these costs.

If you are concerned about the costs of medical treatment associated with the injuries, the lawyer will put you in touch with a medical provider. This way you will not have to pay anything until after the compensation payment becomes effective.

questions about car accidents

In a traffic accident 72 hours is the period within which it is advisable when to see a doctor after car accident. Remember that Lluis Law accident attorneys offer a free consultation and answer all your questions about car accidents.

When to see a doctor after car accident affects your case?

Leaving a lot of time between the time of the accident and the date of the medical appointment damages the case. Often, it causes unnecessary delays and inconvenience to the process of claiming compensation for injuries.

Waiting too long to file public transport accident claims also affects the case.

The insurance company can interpret it as a lack of interest of the claimant and downplay the claim for injuries. On the other hand, to present a claim it is required to present medical evidence of the injuries.

In addition, medical records can only be obtained after the doctor performs a general check of the patient. At that time, the doctor discards or confirms possible injuries and orders a medical treatment.

Then the insurance company discusses the case with the claimant and tries to reach a settlement. In parallel, the insurance adjuster conducts its own investigation into the responsibility of the accident. In this way, it determines the seriousness of the injuries and establishes the offer of compensation.

If it has taken too long to receive medical attention, surely the insurance company will say that the injuries are not serious. Consequently, you can argue that the degree of physical and emotional involvement is low and will propose less compensation.

On the other hand, if the claimant does not have legal representation to fight for his case, he will get a low compensation amount. The car accident lawyers in Los Angeles from Lluis Law always recommend treating your injuries immediately.

What kind of doctor should I see after a car accident?

Patients with serious injuries are usually received by general practitioners or internists in emergency services. They then refer the patient to medical specialists according to the type and severity of the injuries that the diagnosis reveals.

However, when the person is not treated immediately in an emergency service, they may not know who to go to. Certain injuries require diagnoses and treatments established by medical specialists.

type of doctor to visit after car accident

“I had a car accident and my back hurts”

For example, a broken bone should be treated by a traumatologist. A head injury may require a neurologist and a post-traumatic stress disorder assistance from a psychologist or therapist.

If you suffer a muscle contracture during a car accident and your back hurts, you will surely need a physiatrist. And so for the treatment of each injury there is a specialist who certifies it with exams and reports.

Additionally, some insurance companies may require the diagnosis of a car accident specialist. These professionals complete certain special forms that serve to accompany the claim and that other doctors do not handle.

Even having an accident the doctor can help the lawyer during the legal process. He acts as an expert to justify compensation for injuries, because he knows exactly what type of compensation is available.

During an injury trial, doctors specializing in traffic accidents can serve as witnesses and offer affidavits. They are able to better explain the severity of the injuries and their consequences.

Can you go to urgent care after a car accident?

emergency room after an accident

Some patients prefer to go to urgent care services instead of going to hospital emergency services. This is because the waiting time is usually shorter than in emergency rooms.

Urgent care is usually open 24 hours a day every day of the week. Since car accidents occur at any time, many of these centers remain open to receive injured people.

If the injury does not put the patient’s life at risk, it is often preferable to treat it in these centers. While emergency rooms could be left for those who suffer very serious injuries in accidents.

There is no deadline as such to go to the emergency department as a result of traffic accident injuries. However, in both situations it is clear that you should go to the medical service as soon as possible.

How long after an accident can injuries appear?

Not all injuries appear immediately after the accident, but are made patent hours later. Sometimes they can even manifest days or weeks after the accident occurred.

Although in almost all car accidents injuries are evident immediately, but some take longer to appear. For example, soft tissue injuries that cause inflammation, pain and reduce mobility. However, the symptoms may not appear at the moment.

The problem with soft tissue injuries is that they are not even visible to X-rays. For this reason, they are more difficult to diagnose and record.

How much time do you have to file an accident report?

In the same way as the time for when to see a doctor after car accident the time you have to report it is important. The California Statute of Limitations establishes certain deadlines for notifying the insurance company of the responsible party. The term is two years, counted from the date of the accident, to file the claim.

In a personal injury case in which the injuries are discovered some time after the accident, the term is one year. To file the claim and receive compensation for injuries, these deadlines must be strictly adhered to.

Term for workers

If the injured person is a worker, the deadline to notify their employer is 30 days from the date of the accident. In case you want to notify or file a claim also in the company where you work to cover legal aspects.

To request compensation for traffic accidents during working hours, the prerequisite of notifying the employer must be met. The usual thing is to do it within 24 hours after the accident, although to file the formal claim you have 30 days to complete the period.

Vehicle insurance policies also set certain deadlines for their policyholders to notify if they wish to recover damages. The faster the injuries are notified and the claim is filed, the time of compensation will be reduced. An injured person should not wait long for this procedure.

California laws also establish limitations on the amount or type of damages that can be recovered. Not all injured drivers are entitled to receive the same type of compensation. Applies in those cases of driving without insurance and having an accident.

The law prevents uninsured drivers from recovering non-economic damages and compensation for pain and suffering. This includes the drivers responsible for the accident.

Deadline to notify DMV

As for the deadline to report the accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, it is 10 days. Each driver (responsible or not for the accident) must make their respective report separately. Either in the case of an accident involving property damage and injury or cancellation due to a car accident.

What is the time period of the insurer to indemnify?

In California, any claim must be acknowledged within 15 days of its submission. Then, insurance companies have another 40 days to accept or reject the claim. If the claim is accepted, compensation payment must be made within 30 days.

The time begins to run from the date on which the indemnity agreement between the parties is signed. If failure to do so, the insurance company is exposed to being sued for non-payment and acting in bad faith.

How long does it take to get a trial for a traffic accident?

Resolving a car accident case with personal injury can take from 4 months to a year or more. Each of the following stages of the process takes time:

  • Settlement negotiations

Any moment of the trial serves to negotiate a settlement agreement. While most cases do not go to trial, it is sometimes necessary to sue. So the insurance company will know that the claim is serious.

  • Presentation of the demand

After the lawsuit is filed, the responsible driver is notified within the next 30 to 60 days. The defendant will have 30 to 45 days to respond. It can take about 3 months between filing the claim and the insurer’s response. Then comes the discovery process before the trial, which can also be extended.

  • Mediation and dispute resolution

In order to avoid the trial that can be delayed by various factors, the parties may agree to initiate a mediation process. Mediation on average can take 9 to 18 months after the accident. Although mediation itself takes only a day or two.

  • Personal Injury Trial

When the alternative is to go to trial, this process usually takes place after one year of the accident. Even, sometimes it could be in a longer term. The trial however is short, does not take more than a few days or a couple of weeks, depending on the case.

Who pays the compensation for accident at work?

The payment of compensation for a traffic accident on the job depends on several factors. As in any other type of car accident. This includes the cause of the accident, the person responsible for the accident and the type of collision.

In principle, the driver who is found guilty of causing the accident is the one who must pay the compensation. However, for the payment of compensation, the California Pure Comparative Negligence Rule is taken into account.

This rule establishes that compensation is paid according to the percentage of fault of each driver involved. The percentage of fault is assigned by the authorities (police, road patrol) in your report or by the insurance company.

Sometimes there is only one driver responsible for accidents, but sometimes the fault is shared.

Compensation of the guilty driver

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policies generally cover customer losses up to 80%. This includes medical expenses and up to 60% of lost wages.

Compensation to the claimant

The losses of the driver who files the claim are covered by the responsible driver’s insurance company. To obtain compensation for the traffic accident, you must file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.

Failing that, you can file a personal injury claim. In both cases, the other party’s guilt must be demonstrated with sufficient evidence. The problem arises when the responsible driver does not have insurance or the coverage is too low to cover the damages.

In that case you must resort to your own policy with motorist coverage without insurance or insufficient insurance. It also applies when the guilty driver flees the scene and is not found by the police.

pedestrian hit by car

You can learn more about this topic in our article “Pedestrian hit by car“.

Compensation for indirect liability

Accident losses are sometimes covered by the driver’s employer responsible for the injuries. It happens when a worker causes an accident while completing a task for their employer.

The law recognizes this situation under the concept of indirect responsibility. The employer’s responsibility is established for any action that employees take while working.

Compensation while working

Workers who suffer a car accident and are injured can receive compensation from the other driver and his company. Examples of traffic accident compensation of this type are accidents involving trucks or buses.

A bus that runs over a worker in the street or a truck that hits a worker while making a delivery. In those situations both the driver of the vehicle that is also working and his employer may be responsible.

It is not easy to establish the responsibility of an employer, but an expert truck accident lawyer can do it.

Compensation of a manufacturer

If the accident is caused by a defective part, the responsibility of the accident may fall on the vehicle manufacturer. The manufacturer of the part or the vehicle maintenance company may also be responsible.

For example, the tire manufacturer or the workshop where improper maintenance of the brakes was performed.

You could also hold a maintenance company responsible if they were supposed to repair your brakes, but you did not do it or did not do it correctly.

To find out what is compensated in a traffic accident, read our article car accident compensation in California.

Who pays when none have insurance?

If you and the other driver do not have insurance, you will probably have to pay the damages from your own pocket. Before starting a claim process and getting compensation.


Now you know more about the ideal time when you should see a doctor after a car accident. In short, those who come faster to receive medical treatment get better compensation. Call one of our personal injury lawyers right now for a free consultation and we will resolve your case.