What To Do If You Only Start to Feel Hurt Days After Your Injury - Catalano Law

What To Do If You Only Start to Feel Hurt Days After Your Injury

Imagine this scenario: you’re stopped at a red light, but the driver behind you doesn’t slow down in time and rear-ends you. Your back bumper is crumpled, but your car is still drivable and you don’t seem to be hurt, so you count yourself lucky and don’t go to the hospital. However, when you wake up the next morning, your shoulder is sore. You take an aspirin, but the following day, it hasn’t gotten better, it’s gotten worse. Now what?

Unfortunately, this type of situation is far too common, especially since the adrenaline rush caused by a crash can often mask the pain of an injury. Going to the doctor is expensive, so most of us only go when we know something is wrong. Otherwise, we may wait to see if an injury gets better on its own. But if you end up needing treatment and need compensation to pay for it, waiting is one of the absolute worst things you can do.

Can I Still Get Compensation If I Wait to Get Treatment?

Yes, it just becomes much harder the longer you wait. The statute of limitations, or the time limit in which you can file a compensation claim after an accident, is three years from the date of injury in New York. However, if you wait too long, it will be very difficult to prove when and how your injury actually happened.

How Insurance Companies Dispute Claims When You Don’t See a Doctor Right Away

Let’s go back to our first scenario with the sore shoulder. You assume it’s merely a bad bruise, but after a few weeks, the pain is still bad. When you finally see a doctor, you’re told you need surgery due to a torn ligament.

You know that the car accident is the only major injury-causing event that happened in the past month, and it must be how you injured your shoulder. If you filed a police report after the crash, then you can prove the crash happened—but you can’t prove your injury happened in the crash, especially if you already told the responding police officer or your insurance company that you weren’t injured.

The insurance company of the at-fault driver can now say that a lot can happen in a month, and you could have just as easily hurt your shoulder while exercising, doing chores around the home, or in a fall. There’s nothing concrete tying your shoulder injury to the crash (and their client). In this situation, having a lawyer on your side in essential.

What Do I Do If I Was in an Accident But Didn’t Realize I Was Injured Right Away?

The first thing you should do is see a doctor immediately. While the best thing is to see a doctor the day you suffered the injury, the next best thing is to see a doctor now.

Make sure to tell the doctor that you were in an accident, when the accident happened, and how long you’ve been suffering symptoms.

In addition to treating you, your doctor will be able to offer their expert opinion on whether your injury matches the type of accident you were in and whether it’s normal or expected for injuries of that type to have delayed symptoms. This can be useful evidence when connecting your injury to the accident and getting you compensation from the at-fault party.

The second thing you should do is call a lawyer. It will be very difficult to prove you were injured in an accident long after the fact without a lawyer on your side who is familiar with these types of cases. The insurance company will look for every excuse to avoid paying you, but when you hire a lawyer, they will have a harder time arguing that your injury wasn’t their policyholder’s fault.

Other Mistakes to Avoid Following a Car Crash Injury

Failing to see a doctor following a car crash is one of the most common mistakes among injury victims, but it’s far from the only one. Over our decades of experience, we have encountered many that are too easy to make, tripping up victims’ chances of getting the compensation they deserve.

  1. Not Following Through on Treatment: Just getting a doctor to diagnose your injury and connect it to the crash isn’t enough. It’s important to also follow through on all recommended treatment, which includes attending all follow-up appointments, picking up prescribed medications, and attending physical therapy. Stopping treatment early gives the insurance company leverage to argue that you aren’t actually as badly injured as you claim and thus don’t need as much compensation.
  2. Not Tracking Your Accident-Related Expenses: Your settlement should include the cost of all your accident-related expenses, when you’re injured through no fault of your own. Make sure to hold on to all hospital bills and receipts for related expenses, such as transportation to medical appointments or childcare costs while injured. These can be used to calculate how much you may be owed.
  3. Not Exploring Your Legal Options: Many injury victims assume they can handle filing a compensation claim on their own, only to find that insurance companies are all too willing to give them the run-around in hopes that the victim simply gives up. Hiring a lawyer shows the insurance representatives that you mean business and gives you the resources to force them to play fair.
  4. Posting About Your Accident on Social Media: Insurance companies will often search through an accident victim’s social media profiles to find images and posts they can take out of context to try to prove the victim isn’t as injured as they claim. The best way to avoid having your words twisted is to avoid saying anything online at all.

Let Us Help You

At Catalano Law, we know how chaotic the aftermath of accidents can get, and that it’s hard to know what the right thing to do to protect yourself is, physically and legally. That’s why our Syracuse car accident lawyers want to help.

Even if you didn’t realize you were injured until later, or didn’t know how important seeing a doctor right away was, you should not be denied the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

We fiercely believe that, and will fight back against anyone who says otherwise. If you need help getting compensation after a crash, call our team today for a free consultation. We’d love to discuss your options with you.

Originally published February 8, 2021. Updated March 13, 2024.

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