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Should I See a Doctor After a Car Accident?

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Looking for “accident injury doctors near me”? Call Accident Help Zone at (888) 412-8488 today.

Being in a car crash is a traumatic experience, but unfortunately, one that most Americans will experience at least once in their lives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded over 5.2 million accidents in 2020, of which 1.6 million resulted in injuries and approximately 35,000 resulted in fatalities. According to the CDC, road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S., and even relatively minor injuries can be devastating. 

The aftermath of any car crash can be extremely confusing to navigate. Not only do you need to come to terms with the accident itself, but you also need to deal with your car insurance company and any potential legal claims while taking care of your medical needs. Finding the right car accident doctors may be low on your to-do list, but it’s essential to your health and well-being. 

Reasons to See a Doctor After a Car Accident

It’s easy to assume that you don’t need to see a car accident doctor after your crash, especially if you don’t have any visible injuries. Some people even forget to schedule a medical exam due to the other considerations involved in a car accident, but while you may feel fine, seeking medical care is essential and should be a priority.

Stop Pain Before It Begins

Most people think that a trip to the doctor isn’t necessary, especially for small fender-benders where you don’t experience any pain. However, even rear-end impacts going as slowly as 10 mph are enough to cause whiplash injuries, and the release of adrenaline after a crash can mask any pain for up to a day. 

Getting timely medical treatment can prevent accident injuries from increasing in severity through early intervention. A thorough exam and diagnosis by a specialized car accident doctor will help identify any soft-tissue damage or traumatic brain injuries, and early treatment will prevent these injuries from getting any worse. 

Help Process Your Insurance Claim

Insurance companies examine every aspect of your car accident claim, including if and when you sought medical treatment. Most insurers consider 72 hours a reasonable time frame to obtain medical care, and it can become extremely difficult to link any delayed-onset injuries to the accident if you don’t get medical treatment within that window. 

Car accident doctors are also familiar with how insurance claims work and should be comfortable helping you get the right documentation to file a successful claim. These doctors understand the urgency of getting a medical exam within 72 hours of the accident, and same-day appointments may be available with many of the doctors in our directory. 

Improve Your Credibility During a Legal Claim

While you may be happy to let your insurance company handle the financial aspects of your accident, in some cases, you should seek legal assistance as well. Personal injury law determines who pays for the compensation after an accident, and these cases can get complex quickly. 

New York and New Jersey are no-fault insurance states, which means that you are entitled to certain insurance benefits after a car wreck, regardless of whose fault the accident was. Connecticut, on the other hand, operates on an at-fault basis, which means that the person who caused the accident has to pay.

One of the key aspects of a personal injury case is proving that the accident caused the injuries you want compensation for. Insurance companies will often try to say that you had pre-existing injuries or that you sustained the injuries in another incident to avoid paying for your bills. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more convincing this argument becomes. 

A clear record of examinations and treatments from a doctor will go a long way to linking your accident and injuries and makes it much more difficult for insurance companies to avoid paying your medical bills. 

What Type of Doctor Should You See After a Car Accident?

What Type of Doctor Should You See After a Car Accident

Knowing which doctor to contact after your accident can be challenging, especially if you require specialized care. While a potential solution is to simply enter “accident injury doctors near me” into a Google search, you should also have an idea of which doctor is best for your situation. 

Primary Care Provider

It’s never a bad idea to contact your primary healthcare provider about an accident and your injuries. Unfortunately, many general practitioners (GPs) are reluctant to assist with car injury cases. GPs have systems in place to deal with health insurance but do not have the same capability to work with auto insurance providers and may not be willing to take the time out of their busy schedules to handle such cases. 

Primary care providers may also not have the expertise to handle more challenging accident injuries and will often refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist or orthopedic surgeon. 

Finally, even if you find a primary care provider willing to address an accident injury, you may find that they are fully booked weeks in advance. Since you only have 72 hours to get medical attention, this long waiting time makes primary providers an unsuitable choice. 

Car Accident Specialist

Car accident specialists are doctors that focus on diagnosing and treating car accident injuries. They are set up to deal with auto insurance as well as health insurance providers and have a better understanding of the damage car accidents can do. They have the expertise to correctly and rapidly identify and treat injuries arising from crashes, helping to prevent these injuries from getting worse. 

Car accident doctors will also frequently have strong connections to orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, neurologists, and other specialists that deal with car crashes and other accident injuries, helping you get the medical care you need.

Orthopedic Doctor

Orthopedic surgeons or doctors are specialists that deal with injuries and diseases of the bones and joints and, in some cases, how these joints interact with nerves. Orthopedic surgeons treat common car accident injuries, such as:

  • Broken bones
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Disc herniation
  • Torn ligaments and tendons

Orthopedic surgeons frequently work with physical therapists to help patients recover mobility after a car accident. Tendonitis, sciatica, neck sprains, and arthritis are common long-term conditions that may arise after car accident injuries, and rapid treatment and rehabilitation can dramatically lessen their impact. 


Neurologists specialize in diseases and injuries to the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. Neurological injuries are often difficult to detect, as some traumatic brain injuries can take up to several days after the accident to manifest. While many minor TBIs heal on their own, more serious ones can result in permanent damage. 

The most common car accident injuries that neurologists treat are soft-tissue injuries to the muscles and tendons of the neck and spine, such as whiplash, fractures to the neck or spinal vertebrae, and brain injuries such as concussions, which occur when the brain moves violently and comes into contact with the skull. 

Since some neurological symptoms may take several days to manifest, you may go home after an accident feeling fine, only to start experiencing symptoms later, such as:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Extreme irritation or anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Brain fog
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sore or tender muscles around the back and neck
  • Slurred speech

Pain Management Specialist

While car accidents are over in seconds, their consequences can last a lifetime. The forces generated by a car accident cause your body to contort unnaturally, often leading to long-lasting pain. Some consequences, such as broken bones or torn ligaments, are immediately obvious, but adrenaline may mask other injuries, and you’ll only start feeling them several hours or days after your crash.

Pain management specialists can assist other car accident doctors in managing your pain levels. While other doctors will address the underlying cause of the pain, a pain management doctor will help you deal with acute and chronic pain while you recover from your car crash. 

How Soon to See a Doctor After a Car Crash

Ideally, you should see a car accident doctor immediately after your crash. Insurance companies often give people a 72-hour window to seek medical treatment, and getting a claim approved for your medical bills depends on your seeing a doctor within this window. Similarly, states with Personal Injury Protection requirements have a 14-day window, and if you don’t see a doctor within that time, you won’t get your compensation.

Apart from financial considerations, seeing a car accident specialist after your crash is essential for your health and well-being. Rapid treatment offers better outcomes, so the sooner you get medical care, the better your prognosis. Some injuries may take several days to become serious enough to notice, and delaying treatment will only make these injuries worse. 

It’s easy to forget to book a visit with a doctor, especially if you’re not familiar with the type of doctor you need. Many people focus on the administrative side of dealing with a small car accident and neglect their health or don’t have time to do a “car accident doctors near me” search.

However, the benefits of seeing a specialist after your accident far outweigh the potential time and effort required, especially if you use our directory of specialists. Doctors in our directory accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection), so there is no barrier preventing you from scheduling a visit after your accident. 

What You Need to Tell Your Car Accident Doctor

When you see a car accident doctor, it’s vital to provide them with a clear and detailed account of the accident and any potential symptoms you have. If you were at the ER after your accident, bring those records along. 

The more information you provide your car accident doctor, the better. Not only will it allow the doctor to provide an accurate diagnosis and useful treatment plan, but it also streamlines the claims process and minimizes the risk of your insurance not paying out. 

When discussing your injuries, you should also mention any pre-existing injuries you’ve sustained from other accidents, no matter how long ago they were. Doing so may prevent your insurance from trying to say that you weren’t completely honest about your medical history and denying your claim, and in some cases, may even entitle you to more recovery compensation.

Find Auto Accident or Workers Comp Doctors Near Me

Find Auto Accident or Workers Comp Doctors Near Me

Coping with auto accident injuries entails working with specialists in a variety of fields to get your life back on track, including doctors, physical therapists, and even lawyers, and the sooner you get in touch with these professionals, the more likely it is that you’ll get a good outcome.

After an accident, don’t rely on the results of an “accident injury doctors near me” search. Our directory contains a list of healthcare providers that focus on car accidents and work-related injuries, meaning that you’ll get specialized, tailored care. If you’ve been in an accident, find a doctor near you today and start your journey to recovery. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I See a Car Accident Doctor if I Feel Fine After My Crash?

Yes, you should see a car accident doctor even if you feel fine after your accident. Some injuries can take several days to appear, and seeing a doctor soon will help speed up your recovery and address injuries you didn’t even know you had. 

Will My Primary Care Doctor See Me After a Car Accident?

Typically, your primary care doctor will not see you after a car accident. These practices do not have the procedures or expertise in place to handle car accident injuries and deal with auto insurance providers. 

Why Do I have a Headache After My Car Crash?

If you have a headache after your car crash, it could indicate neurological or spinal damage. Headaches are a common symptom after a car crash and can indicate different injuries, so seeing a neurologist if you experience headaches after your accident is essential to addressing the underlying cause. Instead of Googling “accident injury doctors near me,” narrow your search by using our directory at Accident Help Zone.