Vehicle Accident Victim? Here are the Doctors Who Will Treat You
When you’re involved in a car accident, thousands of thoughts instantly cross your mind. Are my passengers okay? Am I okay? What about the other driver, and our vehicles? It’s normal to feel overwhelmed after such a traumatic experience.
However, after the initial excitement of your accident, it’s important that you focus on your health. There are quite a few practitioners who will care for you following your wreck; this guide is an overview of the types of doctors who will treat you.
Your first line of care following a car accident isn’t usually a doctor, it’s typically the emergency response team who will arrive on the scene. This, of course, is secondary to any bystanders who are willing and able to assist you.
The fire department and police will likely arrive on site at the time of your accident, but the EMTs who show up in the ambulance are the practitioners who will provide the most medically based care.
The job of an EMT is to assess the scene, look for critical or life-threatening injury, and triage patients who may need the most immediate care. After urgent needs are met, you will then be given the option to be transported to the hospital. Always agree; even if you feel fine following your accident it’s important that you be further assessed.
Emergency Room Doctor
If you have serious or life-threatening injuries, you’ll likely next be cared for by an emergency room doctor. These doctors aren’t usually specialists, but they are highly trained – and skilled – in dealing with urgent, critical medical situations.
If you were not transported to the hospital via ambulance or Life Flight, it’s a good idea to seek emergency room care regardless. Most urgent care offices are appointment-only, and if your accident occurs outside of normal hours, you may not be able to locate a doctor at all.
The emergency room doctors and staff can deal with vital procedures such as transfusions and even emergency surgeries. If you feel you have severe injuries, do not hesitate to visit the emergency department immediately.
Your General Practitioner
Not all pain or injury associated with a car accident will be felt immediately. In fact, it may be weeks before you discover, for example, your neck pain, inability to lift heavy objects, or blurred vision.
Your general practitioner will be your go-to doctor over the following weeks for any concerns you may have following your car crash. Together, you and your primary care physician will monitor your health, run necessary tests, and refer you to specialists should the need arise.
Unfortunately, your nervous system can be affected by a car accident, no matter how minor. Your brain, spinal cord and the rest of the nerves in your body can be damaged with stress, strain or trauma to your body. That’s why it’s often recommended that you see a neurologist following a car accident.
Again, you may not feel the effects of your car accident on your nervous system right away. However, numbness, tingling, headache and other symptoms can be indicators that your nervous system was damaged when you were in an accident.
Neurologists are trained to recognize these symptoms early, and by visiting this type of doctor after your car accident, you may be able to “catch” a problem before it becomes worse.
In some cases, your doctor (usually your primary care physician) may refer you to a chiropractor after a car accident. These specialists can perform the necessary tests to determine whether you have extensive soft-tissue or other joint damage.
Many people assume that chiropractors are simply “back alignment doctors.” This is far from true. These doctors can help alleviate or even eliminate herniated discs, neck injury and other wreck-related injuries.
Pain Management Clinic
After more severe accidents, it’s possible you may suffer long-term pain. If your pain is not easily controlled by the management techniques you and your general practitioner have set in place, you may be referred to a pain management clinic.
There’s not really any such thing as a “pain doctor.” Instead, when you are under the care of a pain management clinic, you’ll likely be seen by different types of doctors after your car accident. Psychologists, anesthesiologists, radiologists and even alternative medicine practitioners will all be part of your team.
In addition to helping you manage long-term pain you suffer as a result of your accident, your pain management clinic will monitor your prescriptions to ensure you’re getting the appropriate dose of any medications you’re taking.
Psychologist or Psychiatrist
While not true for all car accident victims, you may find that a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional is beneficial to your care. These types of doctors can assist you as you process the accident, your injuries and any other lasting effects of the wreck.
Mental health professionals are trained to deal with all the emotions you may be experiencing. In addition, they’ll recognize mood swings, flash backs, depression, phobias and other symptoms of complications that have arisen since your accident.
Your post-accident medical team is in place to provide you with care as you recover from the traumatic experience of your wreck. In that same way, your post-accident legal team is in place to help you navigate the confusion of insurance, billing, and the administrative aspects of that care.
Reach out to our office today to schedule an appointment to review your case. Our skilled legal team is ready to aid in any way we can to ensure you experience a full recovery.