Richard-Schmidt - MSM&C

Attorney at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling

Practice Areas: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury

There are many reasons why an injured individual may refuse treatment at the scene of an accident. Perhaps they feel their injuries don’t warrant an ambulance ride or an ER visit. Or, their first concern is to speak with the police and their insurance company

However, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is important not only for one’s physical health but also their legal rights. Here are five reasons why injured individuals should not delay seeing a doctor after a car accident.

1. Prompt Medical Care Prevents Injuries from Worsening

Many injuries sustained in a car accident can worsen without prompt diagnosis and treatment. Car accident victims who delay going to a hospital may lengthen their recovery period and face increased medical expenses. Seeking medical attention right away can mean the difference between an injury one can recover from and a permanent disability. 

2. Prompt Medical Care Establishes a Link Between the Car Accident and Any Resulting Injuries

A key part of building a car accident injury claim is providing proof that the accident caused new injuries or caused existing injuries to worsen. The insurance company may look for ways to cast doubt on the nature of someone’s injuries. Waiting to seek medical care could result in a car accident injury claim denial.

3. Prompt Medical Care Facilitates a Treatment Plan

Any financial compensation that accident victims could receive is based, in part, on current and future medical expenses associated with the crash. It is impossible to calculate an adequate settlement amount without knowing the person’s diagnosis and treatment plan.

4. Prompt Medical Care Starts a Paper Trail for a Personal Injury Claim

An attorney can only file a car accident claim if someone sustained damages such as bodily injury. Attorneys can use certain documentation to prove these damages, including the police report and medical records.

5. Prompt Medical Care Is Needed to Meet Legal Deadlines 

In Iowa, injured parties have two years to pursue a personal injury claim in civil court. Typically, the clock starts to tick on the day of the car accident. 

Injured individuals should be aware that two years is the deadline to file a claim with the court; it is not the deadline to simply contact a law firm. Attorneys need time to gather documentation, conduct an investigation if needed, and build a strong case. There is no reason to wait to speak with an attorney. Most car accident law firms offer free consultations.  

What Car Accident Victims Need to Know About Fault in Iowa

After a car accident, the involved parties often come away with their own perceptions of the accident. Someone may delay seeking medical care or consulting an attorney if they feel they were partially or totally responsible for the crash. 

However, individuals may be entitled to receive compensation even if they were partially responsible for the accident. Below is some important information that people need to know about being at fault for a car accident in Iowa.

Perception Is Not the Same as The Law

Any one person’s thoughts about the cause of the crash and what happened from a legal standpoint may differ. The laws surrounding car accident injuries are complex. Attorneys who have experience with these types of cases can explain the laws in everyday terms.

Fault May Not Be “All or Nothing”

The court can find both parties to be responsible for causing a crash in Iowa, a legal concept called contributory negligence. This fault is expressed in percentages. For example, the court may determine that an injured person was 10% at fault for the crash. Any financial compensation would be adjusted accordingly.

Determining Fault May Not Be Easy

A legal team may need to investigate to accurately assess who or what entity was responsible for the crash. This process may involve: 

  • Accessing and viewing surveillance or dashcam videos
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • A recreation of the accident scene
  • An inquiry into municipal road maintenance
  • Investigating any possible third-party negligence, such as an auto manufacturer or an auto part supplier

Car Accident Injuries Are Common

Anyone hesitating to seek medical care after a car accident should realize these injuries are incredibly common. According to the CDC, in a recent year, there were 2.1 million emergency room visits to assess and treat car accident injuries.

While by no means an exhaustive list, some of the most common injuries sustained in a car crash include:

  • Soft tissues injuries, including whiplash
  • Strains
  • Sprains
  • Bone fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Burns

The Lasting Impact of Car Accident Injuries

Car accident victims should be careful to not compare their injuries to others. There is no such thing as “just” a broken bone or “only” a sprain. Car accident injuries can put people out of work for months, years, or even permanently. 

These injuries do more than interfere with the ability to earn an income. Car accident victims often experience physical, emotional, and psychological distress. Their injuries may prevent them from pursuing hobbies, taking part in their favorite pastimes, and being a part of their community. Injuries can also take a toll on parenting, spousal relationships, and friendships.

What Expenses Does a Car Accident Settlement Pay For?

Car Accident Injury

Iowa law may entitle injured individuals to a settlement if the other party is found to be at least partly at fault for the car accident. This compensation may cover current and future expenses caused by the crash.

Medical Care

  • The initial ER or urgent care visit
  • Diagnostic tests: CT scans, X-rays, MRIs
  • Out-patient visits and care
  • Hospital stays
  • Ongoing physical and occupational therapy
  • Prescription medications
  • Mobility aids such as crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair 
  • In-home care to help with meal prep, hygiene, and housekeeping

Income Loss

  • Lost wages during recovery
  • Compensation for a permanent disability that makes it impossible to return to work or diminishes one’s lifetime earning capacity

Pain and Suffering

  • Counseling to treat PTSD, anxiety, or depression
  • Loss of consortium—the injuries interfere with the person’s ability to maintain a relationship with their spouse
  • Loss of parental guidance for minor children
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering

An expert in car accident law can offer invaluable guidance, from delineating the process of hiring a car accident lawyer to understanding the nuanced legal implications of using personal vehicles for work. Additionally, they ensure that you file your accident claim in time, a critical step to securing the compensation you deserve. Given the rise of electric vehicles, they can also address the specific risks associated with electric vehicle accidents, which can be distinct from traditional car accidents.

Seeking medical attention after a car accident aids in recovery and preserves the injured party’s legal rights. Contact or call us at 515-444-4000 as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Providing Unmatched EXPERIENCE On Your Case When you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been treated unfairly or you’re in the middle of a legal disagreement, it can be difficult to know what your rights are and how to proceed.

  • The attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland, & Cooling help me understand and keep me up-to-date on everything with my case this law firm is top-notch if you need a law firm to fight for you this one is the best in the state. I thank the partners at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland, Cooling for having such talented lawyers on their team, and their hard work and dedication to my case

  • Professional, responsive, and most diligent individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with on my case. This firm gets the job done and they care legitimately about their clients. Anyone who loves chihuahuas as much as me has to be a great person. I would recommend this firm to everyone.

  • I was in a bad situation after a work injury and wasn’t sure if my employer was trying to do things that weren’t legal in regard to my medical care and returning to work too soon. A friend of mine put me in contact with Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling. They were extremely helpful and very quick to contact me, ask and answer questions, and help me with my case. I appreciate all they do and for taking me seriously!

  • I was recently in a car accident which was a traumatizing experience. However, I got in contact with Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling and never looked back. Everyone was friendly and they reassured me things would work out. They turned a stressful experience to nothing at all. I would recommend to others in the area

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