COVID-19 and Car Crashes: What Happens Next?
Even with the many measures put in place to halt the COVID-19 outbreak, there are still businesses deemed essential and people still need supplies. That means there are still plenty of people on the road – many of them incredibly distracted by anything from family or health concerns to the panic of social media. That will lead to car accidents. Should you seek medical attention or go to the hospital after an accident during this COVID-19 outbreak? Should you avoid it? What happens if the accident wasn’t your fault and you don’t seek medical attention?
Personal Injury Attorneys and James Scott Farrin shareholders Gabe Talton, Jeremy Maddox, and Michael Shepherd weighed in with a COVID-19 special supplement to the typical steps you should take after being in an auto accident.
1) With the COVID-19 crisis, should I still go to the ER after a car accident?
After an accident during this outbreak, balance your need for ER treatment against the strain you would put on the ER by going, and the risk to yourself from being in a place that certainly poses a high COVID-19 exposure risk. If you’re bleeding, have broken bones, hit your head, or are in considerable pain, the ER is an obvious choice.
On the other hand, if you’re hurt and don’t go to the ER, it’s still important to get initial medical treatment within a day or so of the crash. Not only is it vital to your health – you may be seriously injured and not know it yet – but if you wait too much longer, the car insurance company will likely use it against you. Waiting too long, even with COVID-19 measures in place, will likely hurt your case.
2) What if I don’t go to the ER after a car accident because of coronavirus? What are my options?
Consider urgent care or orthopedic urgent care, your primary care physician, or self-refer directly to a chiropractor. If they require appointments, make one immediately, and keep record of when you requested it and when it was available. You need to determine what kind of treatment you require as soon as possible. Find a local provider with good screening measures. For example: Are they taking the temperatures of patients coming in?
Some medical providers, including primary care physicians, physical therapists, and orthopedists, are now offering telehealth options. That means, even if you’re injured, you can still see a medical provider over a video conference, like FaceTime or Skype, and avoid the risk of exposure.
Document Efforts to Seek Treatment!
There is going to be a lot of stress on our health care system over the coming weeks and perhaps months. Care providers are putting measures in place, but the sheer volume of patients could result in delays. For the sake of your case, always document who you call for care, when, and what the result was.
If you’re going to have a gap in care (which is typically viewed negatively by an insurance company), you at least want to be able to show that you were seeking it and the results of your efforts. Did you call at 10am on Tuesday and were told to call back in a week? Did you call back a week later only be told to do the same again? Every bit of documentation could be helpful when you’re building a personal injury case. You don’t want to be stuck with all those medical bills if you were hurt through no fault of your own – COVID-19 or not!
3) Is it critical to get immediate treatment after a car accident? Because of COVID-19, can it wait a few weeks?
Do not wait. It’s important to get immediate and consistent medical treatment while you’re hurting. In North Carolina, the injured party has the burden to prove their injuries. The best way to do this is to get regular medical care for those injuries. Otherwise, you may not receive the compensation you may deserve.
Don’t hesitate to seek specialist care, either. If you’ve got back, neck, or joint pain that isn’t resolving after approximately three weeks, you may need to be referred to an orthopedic or other board certified specialist as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. Medical professionals are on the “essential business” lists, so they will be operating.
4) I was told we’re supposed to shelter in place. Can I even leave the house to get medical care after an accident?
Even if a stay-in-place or shelter-in-place order is in effect, an injured person is always permitted to leave their home to seek medical care.
5) Do I file insurance the same way after a car accident during COVID-19 measures?
This is where things really operate like normal. Make sure your health care providers have your health insurance information. How your medical bills are filed will be determined later, but the providers will need your information on file. DO NOT trust the auto insurance company if they tell you they will pay your medical bills – at least not without reading the fine print. That’s where the details are that they may not tell you about.
6) I’m still confused about a few things. Who can I call for answers?
If you still have questions or concerns about how coronavirus can affect your personal injury claim, call us for a free case evaluation. We’re living in a pretty confusing time with a lot of new rules. It doesn’t hurt to reach out. We’re happy to assist. You can reach us 24/7 at 1-866-900-7078, chat, or filling out a contact form.
We are still here to help, and still working for our clients through this crisis.
If you or someone you know is injured in a car accident, don’t let the COVID-19 quarantine prevent you from seeking justice. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin are still operating at full capacity, and continuing to fight for our clients, leveraging our technology advantages and proprietary software to continue to get work done. Call 1-866-900-7078 or contact us for a free case evaluation.