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What Doctor Should You See After a Car Accident?

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If you’ve just been injured in a car accident in New York City or nearby areas, you might be trying to decide whether you need to see a doctor. But have you also considered what type of doctor you might need to see? To determine that, there may be some factors you ought to consider.

Heading to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room

In many cases, the best idea is to head to a medical facility right away. Even if you think you aren’t injured or don’t need to see a doctor, it may simply be that your injuries are not yet apparent. Of course, if you recognize that you have a life-threatening emergency, head to the emergency room or call for an ambulance. However, many types of injuries can be effectively evaluated at an urgent care clinic, often with shorter wait times to see the doctor.

While not necessarily open around the clock like emergency rooms are, urgent care clinics often have longer hours than typical doctor offices, enabling you to pay one of them a visit late the same night or early the next morning after your accident. Another option for prompt medical treatment of a non-life-threatening injury is to call your primary care doctor’s staff and find out if they have timeslots reserved for urgent care needs or an opening that day due to a cancellation.

Seeing a Specialist

No doubt you know that specialists for all kinds of medical conditions exist. There are heart doctors, diabetes specialists, neurologists who specialize only in sleep disorders, and cancer specialists (oncologists), to name a few. Did you know that there are also doctors who specialize in treating people who have been involved in a car accident?

Specializing allows a doctor to become an expert at recognizing the signs and symptoms of particular conditions related to the doctor’s specialty. A doctor specializing in treating traumatic injuries, such as those from motor vehicle accidents, maybe more attuned to the subtle effects and recognize and catch things earlier. For example, such a specialist might realize that your lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate could be a sign of an internal bleed, moving quickly to confirm whether and where it’s occurring.

The specialist you turn to may be from any of various fields. You could choose an orthopedist to treat bone injuries, a physical therapist to help you with rehabilitation, a chiropractor to reset bones that have been shifted out of place, or even a psychologist to help you work past any mental trauma you may have experienced. You may even be able to find a specialist who blends more than one of these fields.

Visiting Your Primary Care Doctor

At the very least, even if you don’t feel you have an urgent problem or emergency and you don’t think you need a specialist either, call your current primary care doctor. Check for open timeslots or cancellations as soon as possible, preferably within a day or two. Be sure, however, to let the staff know why you are scheduling this appointment. If they can’t be the ones to assist you with the post-accident care you need, you want to allow them to let you know that right away, before you even go in there for the appointment.

Seeking medical attention isn’t a highlight of anyone’s day, so you’re not the only one if you find you are resistant to going to the doctor even following a car accident. But don’t let that stop you from treating yourself right.