5 Things You Need to Know About Going to the Emergency Room After an Accident
Written by Greg on July 13, 2018
After a car accident in which you are injured, the vast majority of the time you will end up in the emergency room. Emergency rooms serve a vital function by providing care and injury assessment early on after a collision. Many people have a misunderstanding about what being “discharged” by the emergency room means.
The Medical Professionals Will Determine if the Injury is Life Threatening
Emergency rooms act as triage trying to determine the severity of the injury soon. Emergency rooms are not designed to render ongoing care except in the most serious of cases where immediate surgery is required, or the condition is life-threatening.
If your injury is not deemed life-threatening or require immediate treatment, you will likely be discharged with instructions to follow up with your primary care doctor or a specialist. The biggest mistake personal injury attorneys see is the injured not taking action to receive needed treatment after an accident.
Tip: Follow up with the appropriate medical provider soon after being released from the hospital.
Be Careful What You Sign
When you are first transported to the hospital, you will be given many forms voluminous to sign to receive the treatment you need. If you have health insurance, make sure the hospital will bill your health insurance. Some Texas hospitals refuse to bill health insurance when they learn the person was injured in an accident like an 18-wheeler wreck.
Tips: Sign no assignment of benefits if you can avoid it and submit the hospital bills to your health insurer.
The Hospital Charges Will Be High
In Texas, hospitals are given the opportunity to file a hospital lien. The hospital lien statute offers hospitals priority over you or other claimants from settlements from an accident. Unfortunately, many hospitals have taken advantage of the power of the hospital lien and charge uninsured victims full rates that often are excessive. The good news is you or your lawyer can often negotiate a reduction to excessive charges.
Tip: If the hospital files a lien, always contact the hospital regarding a reduction of full billing amounts.
What the Nurse Writes Down About the Accident Matters
Inevitably, a nurse or other medical professional will ask you questions about the crash. You should keep the response on how the accident happened short and concise. Statements such as “I was rear-ended” or “he T-boned me” are okay but long-winded descriptions of the accident can only hurt your injury claim. Doctors and nurses don’t care about the facts on the cause of the crash as they are there to treat your injuries. Unfortunately, if you give a lengthy account of what happened, it only increases the chances that a nurse will paraphrase your description to your detriment. If the statement is in your medical records, you will end up living with it. Statements on the stand, like “I did not say that” are seldome believed by a jury if the medical records say otherwise.
Tip: Keep what you say about the collision short, true and concise.
Tell the Medical Providers Every Place It Hurts
It is human nature to focus on the areas that are the most painful. However, when being examined in the emergency room after an accident, you should mention every area of discomfort or pain even if it seems relatively insignificant. Case after case has proven items that are not the most painful early can prove chronic later and a problem later on. If you do not mention an area in your initial doctor visit, you can be assured the insurance company will dispute the later identified injury.
Tip: Always tell the doctors every area of discomfort or pain.