Too many times in this line of work, our Greenville personal injury lawyers have seen instances where people who were involved in an accident - whether in a motor vehicle or a slip and fall or an athletic activity - who failed to get immediate medical treatment.
We tend to see this quite a bit with men in particular, who don't want to worry their family members or appear as if they aren't tough enough to handle it.
But here's the thing: Even if you feel Ok in the few minutes after it happened, you could have incurred serious and potentially life-threatening or life-altering injuries that aren't immediately apparent. In many of these cases, early detection could actually save your life. Furthermore, having hard, medical proof and documentation of these injuries can go a long way in bolstering your success if you choose to later file a personal injury lawsuit.
South Carolina emergency workers have been driving home the point in a public awareness campaign, recently published by local Gannett affiliate, WLTX in Charleston. The crews say that those involved in accidents should almost always seek immediate medical treatment because in the aftermath of an incident, you may not be the best judge of whether you are actually injured.
For example, certain kinds of head injuries may not reveal themselves for days or even weeks. It's estimated that head injuries account for some 250,000 annual hospital admissions and some 50,000 deaths. Motor vehicles and sports accidents account for 9 out 10 of these cases, and children under the age of 14 account for 2,500 of them.
The Centers for Disease Control recommend that certain symptoms or factors increase the urgency to seek medical attention following a blow to the head:
- Short term memory loss;
- Alcohol intoxication;
- Being over the age of 60;
- Obvious physical trauma to either the neck or head.
South Carolina emergency workers say that while accident victims always have the right to decline medical care, most recommend immediate transportation to the hospital or, at the very least, some sort of check-up soon thereafter.
Know too that the longer you wait to seek medical help, the more difficult it will be to prove that the injuries you are suffering are in fact a direct result of the incident. You may also consider taking photographs of any scrapes, cuts, bruises or other visible injuries.
South Carolina emergency medical professionals responding to an accident or injury scene operate on two principles when deciding whether to transport you to the hospital: Expressed consent and implied consent. You may expressly communicate that you want to be treated or there may be implied consent. That happens either when someone is under 18 and has no one to sign consent for him or her or when the individual is not mentally capable of making those decisions. In making that call for an adult, emergency workers will try to assess whether you are alert. It's best to simply go with them if there is any doubt.
Even if you are alert and feel fine following an injury, particularly one to the head, a precautionary medical evaluation is not something to take lightly. Trying to "wait and see" or "sleep it off" could potentially result in a rapid deterioration of your condition.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the South Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Silent Symptoms Reason to Always Seek Care After Accident, Feb. 18, 2013, By Clark Fouraker, WLTX
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