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What type of doctor to see after an accident

I was hit by a drunk driver last night. It was a minor accident, but I’m in pain. What type of doctor should I see?

- JG, California


If you're in pain, I recommend that you get in to see a medical provider as soon as possible. The sooner you see a medical provider after an accident, the stronger your injury claim will be. That's because the longer the delay between an accident and the first date of treatment, the stronger the argument the insurance company will have that you weren't really injured or you would have treated sooner.

Next issue: is there auto insurance that will cover your injury claim, either auto insurance covering the drunk driver, or uninsured motorist coverage on your car? If that is not yet confirmed, then you may want to treat through your health insurance, if you have it, so you won't get stuck with a medical bill that you'll be responsible for.

Next issue: type of medical provider to see. That depends on the type and severity of pain you are feeling. If the pain is serious, you may want to go to an emergency room or urgent care facility. If the pain is minor, a chiropractor may suffice.

You should know that auto insurance companies take a hard line on minor impact cases. They will argue that if the impact was minor, your injuries were minor, and ultimately their settlement offer will reflect that. In reality, the amount of damage to a car does not always correlate with the seriousness of the injuries suffered. If you are elderly or suffer from a pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by the accident, then even a minor impact can result in serious injuries to you.

Bottom line: it's best to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to make sure you are taking the right steps. Attorneys Daniel McGee and Catherine Lerer are available 24-7 to provide you with a free consultation.

This answer does not constitute legal advice, which can only be rendered after a full consideration of the facts of your case which is not possible in this format; nor establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be done after you and an attorney meet and agree on the terms of that relationship. This answer is intended solely to provide general information about the justice system. Further, it does not provide the basis for making decisions about a course of action. Before making any decisions about a course of action readers are strongly encouraged to contact a lawyer and secure an attorney-client relationship. Readers must also understand that this format does not provide for confidential communication. Moreover, links to information on this site are for your convenience only and are not an endorsement or recommendation of those sites, and no responsibility is taken for any information at these linked sites, nor makes any representation or warranty with respect to these sites or the information contained therein.