Paramedic putting a neck brace on an injured man from car accident

The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After an Accident

Abrahamson Law Office June 18, 2024

The immediate aftermath of being injured in an accident commonly involves confusion, shock, and a rush of adrenaline, which can mask the severity of your injuries. While some injuries are readily apparent, it's not uncommon for other injuries to manifest hours or even days after the incident.  

This delayed onset can lead to complications if they are not promptly addressed. Therefore, it's imperative to seek medical attention immediately following an accident. This is true both for your health and well-being and for legal reasons since medical documentation serves as essential evidence for filing a personal injury claim.  

At Abrahamson Law Office, we understand the physical, emotional, and legal strain that can be caused by an accident. Whether you've been injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or workplace injury, we can help you receive the medical care you need.  

Reasons to Seek Medical Attention Immediately 

Prompt medical attention after an accident serves several critical purposes. Firstly, it ensures that any injuries are diagnosed and treated promptly.  

  • Ensures visible injuries are treated promptly: Early medical treatment can help prevent minor injuries from developing into more severe conditions, potentially leading to a quicker and more complete recovery. 

  • Identifies and diagnoses hidden or latent injuries: Provides medical care for injuries such as concussions, internal bleeding, or fractures that may not be immediately apparent but can have severe long-term effects if left untreated. 

  • Creates an official medical record of your injuries: Helps establish a direct connection between the accident and the injuries you sustained, reinforcing the legitimacy of your claim. 

Failing to seek timely medical attention can be used against you by insurance companies or opposing legal teams, who may argue that your injuries are not as severe or that they occurred from another cause. Prioritizing medical care post-accident is essential to reinforce the integrity of any subsequent legal proceedings. 

The Legal Importance of Medical Documentation 

In Nebraska, medical records serve as foundational evidence in personal injury claims, clearly detailing the extent and nature of the injuries sustained. To secure compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the accident directly caused them.  

Comprehensive medical records provide a timeline and factual evidence that link the accident to your injuries, making it difficult for insurance companies or opposing legal teams to dispute the legitimacy of your claim. 

Additionally, medical documentation offers clear insights into the severity and prognosis of your injuries. Detailed records—including diagnostic tests, treatment plans, and physician notes—illustrate the impact of the injuries on your daily life and potential long-term consequences. This information is vital for accurately calculating compensatory damages. 

Nebraska Statutes of Limitations 

In Nebraska, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally four years from the date of the accident. This means that you have four years to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for injuries you sustained. This time frame applies to most personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and workplace injuries. 

Nebraska Comparative Negligence 

Nebraska follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means you can still recover damages even if you are partially at fault for the accident. However, your degree of fault must be less than 50% to be eligible for compensation. If you are found to be 50% or more at fault, you are barred from recovering any damages. 

For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages but are found to be 20% at fault for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by 20%, resulting in a recovery of $80,000. 

Comprehensive medical records help mitigate claims of shared blame by clearly documenting the immediate aftermath of the incident, including the injuries you sustained and the care you received. 

Common Injuries After an Accident 

Different injuries can occur depending on the type and severity of the accident. Some of the most common injuries sustained in accidents can be divided into immediate apparent injuries and those that may not show immediate symptoms. 

Injuries That Are Often Immediately Visible 

Certain injuries often show immediate symptoms, which result in immediate pain or discomfort and require medical attention. These include: 

  • Broken bones and fractures: Often visible through swelling, bruising, or deformity and require urgent medical attention to set the bones and avoid further complications. 

  • Bruises and contusions: Impacts during an accident can cause blood vessels to break under the skin, leading to bruising. 

  • Burns: Chemical, electrical, or heat burns may occur in accidents, ranging from minor to life-threatening. 

  • Dislocations: Joints forced out of their normal position can cause visible deformity, intense pain, and immobility. 

  • Lacerations and abrasions: Cuts and scrapes, ranging from minor to severe, that sometimes require stitches or surgical intervention.  

  • Sprains and strains: Ligament sprains and muscle strains usually result in immediate pain, swelling, and limited range of motion. 

Injuries That May Not Show Immediate Symptoms 

Many injuries incurred during accidents do not exhibit immediate symptoms but can develop into significant health issues. Some common injuries that often have delayed symptoms include: 

  • Whiplash: Neck and back injuries that can manifest days after an auto accident. 

  • Concussions: Head injuries that may not show signs of severity until hours or days later. 

  • Internal injuries: Damage to internal organs might not cause pain or symptoms right away. 

  • Soft tissue injuries: Sprains, strains, and bruises may appear minor but can worsen over time. 

Early medical intervention can diagnose and treat these conditions before they escalate into more serious health problems. 

Who Is Responsible for Paying Medical Bills After an Accident in Nebraska? 

In Nebraska, the at-fault party is generally liable for covering the medical expenses of the injured party. This is often handled through the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you're injured in a car accident, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance should cover your medical bills up to the policy limits. Nebraska requires all drivers to carry liability insurance which includes coverage for bodily injury. 

However, since insurance claims and settlements can take time to process, injured parties often have to initially cover their own medical expenses. Some ways you can manage these costs include: 

  • Personal health insurance: Your health insurance or employer-provided health plan may cover your medical bills. If you later receive compensation from the at-fault party's insurance, your health insurance company may seek reimbursement. 

  • MedPay coverage: Nebraska auto insurance policies frequently offer optional MedPay coverage that covers medical expenses regardless of who was at fault.  

  • Workers’ compensation: If the injury occurs in a workplace accident, workers’ compensation insurance typically covers the medical expenses. Nebraska requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees. 

  • Out-of-Pocket payments: You may have to make individual payments if insurance does not immediately cover medical costs. 

  • Court settlement: If you pursue a personal injury claim, a court settlement can provide compensation to cover past and future medical expenses. 

It is crucial to maintain thorough records of all medical treatments and expenses related to the accident to support your compensation claim. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help navigate the complexities of recovering medical costs and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

Seek Professional Legal Advice 

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, prompt medical attention and professional legal guidance can pave the way for recovery and just compensation.  

Contact Abrahamson Law Office today to schedule a consultation. Let our dedicated team support you through this challenging time with the expertise and compassion you need. 

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, we serve clients throughout Sarpy County, Douglas County, Washington County, Saunders County (Wahoo), Otoe County (Nebraska City), and Dodge County (Fremont).