Medical records are vital evidence after a car crash. Seeking medical treatment and diagnosis for injuries immediately after a crash will have a significant impact on injury claims.
Seeking Medical Treatment
Car accidents can cause serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. Even if injuries are treated by EMTs at the scene, medical tests from a medical facility or licensed physician are necessary for a proper diagnosis. Although bruises, cuts, and skin abrasions may be obvious right away, internal injuries often show no symptoms for days or weeks after a car accident.
There are three medical tests that are often performed after a car crash to ensure an accurate diagnosis of injuries and rule out any serious or life-threatening complications:
The first test, often performed in a hospital emergency department, is an X-ray. This test uses electromagnetic radiation waves to create black and white images of internal body parts. Bones appear white in images because calcium absorbs the most radiation. Soft tissues and fat absorb less and appear gray. Air absorbs the least, so lungs appear black. X-rays are commonly used to diagnose fractures and broken bones.
CT scans, computed tomography scans, are a type of X-ray that shows three-dimensional images instead of one-dimensional photographs. While an X-ray uses one straight beam of radiation, a CT scan uses several different beams aimed at one area. CT scans can show images of soft tissue, blood vessels, bones, and internal organs, so they are often performed when internal injuries are suspected to rule out head trauma, traumatic brain injuries, organ damage, and internal bleeding.
MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. MRI patients are typically placed in an enclosed tube for up to 30 minutes, depending on areas scanned. MRIs are used to diagnose injuries that cannot be seen on X-rays and CT scans. Injury victims in car accidents are often given MRIs to detect torn ligaments and muscles and back and neck trauma such as herniated or slipped discs.
When a car crash is caused by a negligent driver, an accident lawyer can file a civil lawsuit to cover medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress. In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded by the court to punish the negligent driver.