Accidents are scary. Even if you do not experience pain afterwards, it is not unusual to have an injury that manifests in the days, weeks, or months after the accident. Sometimes existing health issues complicate matters, particularly if you were experiencing muscle pain.
Always see a doctor right after the accident, even if you feel “fine”
If you experience an accident or injury, it is important to be examined by a doctor right after the accident. This is for a number of reasons: perhaps you suffered a serious injury but feel “fine” because of the adrenaline produced by your body in response to the trauma of the event. Avoiding the doctor is a fatal mistake if you have internal bleeding and proceed to go home as if nothing happened. You also want to see a doctor immediately for insurance purposes. Denial of claims from both health and auto insurance adjusters are common. Examination by a medical professional helps get your costs covered whether or not the injury was caused by the accident.
The legal time clock is ticking
The other reason to have a medical examination immediately after the event is to protect your rights under the law. The statute of limitations is the period of time you have to bring your case to court. Once this time expires, you lose your right to sue the person or company that caused you harm. Failure to take this step commonly results in a situation where you are stuck with medical bills because both your health and auto insurance have denied your claims and you end up paying for treatment out of pocket.
Statute of limitations in Colorado
How do the statute of limitations work in a personal injury case? In Colorado, the time you have to file a case in court depends upon the circumstances surrounding the injury. In general, you have two years from the date of the incident that caused the injury such as a product or item that harmed you, you were hurt on someone else’s property or from a pet bite. If your injury was caused by a motor vehicle, the time is extended from two years to three.
Harm that manifests later in time
Harm from some injuries do not appear for hours, days or weeks after the crash. When your injury is not obvious, the clock starts running from the time it is discovered or from when it is reasonable for you to have known the injury resulted from the accident. This delay is common after experiencing concussion, whiplash, or other soft tissue damage to your muscles, tendons and joints from impact.
Watch for discomfort that pops ups in the days and weeks after the crash- even if you were examined by a doctor immediately after the accident. Do not settle with insurance adjusters that approach you to sign a waiver of liability, instead call an attorney. Seeing a doctor right after the accident will preserve your legal rights and save you time and money in the event you experience delayed injuries from the crash.