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Immediately After An Accident, Self-Care Is Very Important

Apr 05, 2016 06:47PM ● By Ellen Wright

Car accidents are no joke … especially when someone is injured.  Motor vehicles are usually damaged if not completely wrecked, and victims are faced with the conundrum of lost time from work and loss of transportation.  Combine these problems with  personal injuries and other family obligations and it is a recipe for a perfect storm.   In today’s world it’s hard enough to carve out the few minutes necessary for people to take care of themselves, but following a car accident people quickly discover how important self-care truly is.

Why Self-Care is so Important

If police and emergency personnel are dispatched to the scene, the accident is likely serious.  Victims are often taken by ambulance to the nearest emergency room or urgent care clinic for immediate treatment.  Most accidents are not this severe and usually fall under the category of “fender benders.”   In these types of cases, no police or ambulance are summonsed if there are no apparent personal injuries and the property damage is relatively minor.  Even in minor crashes there can be chaos and confusion.   Victims frequently  forget about themselves – especially if there are children.  Because many accident victims report no immediate pain following this type of crash, they exchange information but often do not want to bother with the expense or inconvenience of medical treatment right away.

Victims need to listen to their bodies and follow intuition.  While a victim may not immediately feel pain or exhibit any other symptoms, they may nonetheless be seriously injured, even if the impact from the crash was at low speed.   From a practical and a legal standpoint, seeking medical care following an accident is always a good idea.  Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state, which means all motorists are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of their automobile insurance coverage.  A PIP-compliant policy must offer at least $2,000 in coverage for medical expenses and lost wages, and victims are often very relieved to know that these expenses will be covered.

Can Self-Care Wait?

Many people erroneously believe that they can take care of others while neglecting themselves.  This is  a fallacy.  Neglecting one’s own needs will only be detrimental to those who depend on them.  Moreover, waiting too long to seek medical care after an accident may result in the insurance company denying the claim.  The injured party must show that the injuries  were causally related to the crash and permitting a large window of time to go by without medical care may be detrimental to a claim.  Many people just assume that pain will subside with time and rest, but this is often not the case.  Using this rationale may allow the insurance company to use this gap in treatment to later argue that the injury was caused by something other than the accident or that the accident wasn’t that serious.

Resolve to Practice Self-Care and Follow Through

Insurance claims aside, self-care is something that is often overlooked and disregarded in today’s society.  Thinking about how to handle the matter and over-analyzing the situation will only make matters worse.  It is okay if the answers aren’t apparent.  Say no to the commitments that are going to unnecessarily add responsibility during the days following a crash.  This is a time to focus on yourself, get the care needed, and consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate options.

Attorney Ellen Wright is the principle of Wright Family Law Group, 1445 Main St., Tewksbury.

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