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Seeking treatment after your wreck protects your rights

You're cruising down I-95 on your way to work when, seemingly out of nowhere, a truck is bearing down on your rear bumper. Hemmed in on both sides and unable to take evasive action, you brace yourself for the inevitable impact.

Amazingly, you are able to climb out of the wreckage and walk away with just minor visible injuries. As you wait for the police and the wrecker to arrive, you thank your lucky stars that the damage wasn't more serious.

When first responders arrive with the ambulance, you decline treatment and declare that you're fine.

You may have invisible injuries

Not so fast. You may have suffered more serious injuries than you, at first, realize — injuries that need to be assessed, evaluated and treated for you to make the best recovery possible.

Consider that in the minutes and hours following your car accident on a Florida interstate, your body is flooded with chemicals that course through your veins as a response to the imminent danger from the wreck. Adrenaline can mask the signs and symptoms of serious injuries, e.g., internal bleeding and organ damage.

Even if your injuries are not so life-threatening, the pain from whiplash and cervical strains and sprains can be severe and have a delayed onset. Much the way bruising only shows up in the days following trauma, some injuries only worsen post-accident.

Even low-speed collisions can cause injuries

Certainly the speed at which you and the other vehicle were traveling at the time of the impact affects the severity of your injuries. However, even minor collisions can still adversely affect the victims and/or antagonize pre-existing conditions.

By seeking medical treatment following your auto accident, you are also establishing a record of the injuries that you suffered in the event that you decide to file a claim for compensation with the other driver's insurance company. This initial evaluation will become important documentation of the injuries you suffered.

Pain from untreated injuries like herniated discs or other spinal column damage can negatively impact your mobility months, or even years, after the accident. You may need extensive treatment — or even surgery.

All of that can be quite expensive, even for those with good health insurance policies. However, if you are treated following the accident, your doctor can link the significant damage to your collision. This enables you to seek future medical costs to fix the problem in your claim for damages, forcing the at-fault driver's insurance company to pick up the tab for treating your injuries.

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