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What to Expect During Your First Visit to a Car Accident Doctor

Don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment after a car accident. Call Metro Health Care Partners at (718) 769-2521 to find an experienced auto accident doctor near you.

According to the Citywide Motor Vehicle Collision Report Statistics for February 2023, New York City reports 6,696 auto accidents, causing injuries to over 23% of involved motorists.

It’s always a good idea to consult a car accident doctor immediately after the incident, but what sets this appointment apart from a trip to a primary care doctor?

You might wonder where to begin your search if you need to find an accident doctor. Metro Health Care Partners is a multi-disciplinary medical facility of specialized doctors with experience handling auto accident injuries in Brooklyn, NY, and surrounding areas.

Consult the guide below to learn more about what you can expect during your initial medical visit with a car accident doctor. 

What to Do After a Car Accident

Unfortunately, car wrecks are a part of everyday life. In 2020 alone, the United States had over five million collisions, with over 1.5 million crashes resulting in minor to severe injuries. The likelihood of you being part of an auto collision as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian are incredibly high, so you must know what to do if the situation occurs. 

Follow these steps after a car wreck:

  1. Assess your injuries: You might feel injured immediately after an accident, but it’s not guaranteed. Assess the extent of your injuries, and call 911 if necessary for medical assistance.
  2. Check on passengers: If you can move, check on the well-being of your passengers and others involved in the accident.
  3. Wait for help: If possible, turn off the car, put on the hazard lights, and move to the side of the road. Then, call the police to document the scene and wait for them to arrive.
  4. Exchange details: Exchange contact details and insurance information from the other driver if the collision includes multiple vehicles. 
  5. Document the accident: You should document the accident for insurance purposes. Take pictures, collect names and contact information of witnesses, and get a copy of the accident report from the responding police officers.

Though car accidents are often preventable, they can produce unexpected results. Your safety and health are the main priorities.

If you have broken bones, severe lacerations, or another medical emergency, seek medical treatment immediately. However, you should still visit a car accident doctor for minor fender benders and moderate accidents that don’t appear to produce serious injuries. It’s common for car accident injuries to develop symptoms days after the incident. 

What to Expect During Your Auto Accident Doctor Appointment

Visiting a car accident doctor for the first time can be daunting. However, it’s not an appointment you should skip. 

You might not realize you have injuries after a minor accident. Unfortunately, the longer you go without treatment, the worse the injuries can become and the more difficult they can be to treat. Car accidents can be life-altering in surprising ways, including producing unnoticed injuries that could affect your daily life. 

Even if you have minimal symptoms, seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment. When you arrange your first appointment, you can expect these steps to occur. 

You’ll Discuss Your Accident

Saying, “I’ve been in a car accident,” doesn’t provide enough details for your doctor to assess your injuries. Accidents can cause numerous injuries, some of which are internal and don’t produce noticeable symptoms. You’ll need to discuss the accident’s details for a proper diagnosis. 

Unlike a typical primary care doctor, auto accident doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating impact injuries, which can vary from minor to life-threatening. Reviewing the accident’s details will help them identify the location and severity of your injuries. Going over the accident can also prepare you and your doctor for delayed symptoms that are likely to occur. 

The Doctor Will Take Your Medical History

Your doctor will also ask about your medical history. Though the discussion might seem intrusive and unrelated to the reason for the appointment, it’s a necessary aspect of your diagnosis and treatment. 

New injuries can trigger old illnesses, surgeries, and injuries, causing a flare-up that wouldn’t otherwise occur. Your medical past could also affect the treatment for your new injuries. It’s also possible for your age, level of physical activities, and other personal details to put you at risk for specific car accident injuries. 

You’ll Undergo Physical Exams, Screenings, and Tests

Once the physician has the necessary information, they will perform various examinations and tests to assess your injuries, physical condition, and pain. Simple physical exams include a hands-on approach, where the doctor will feel for misalignments, swelling, and bumps in parts of your body most likely to have an injury. They may also test your cognitive ability, reflexes, and total-body alignment. 

You can expect the doctor to ask about the severity of any pain you feel when it occurs and if it worsens with movement. The final part of the examination usually includes medical imaging, such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, to uncover injuries to bones, soft tissues, and nerves. 

The Physician Will Provide a Comprehensive Treatment Plan

According to the National Safety Council, over four million people sustained serious car accident-related injuries in 2020. Though the severity of an injury increases when vehicles travel at high speeds, studies show that car drivers and passengers can sustain soft tissue injuries in crashes at speeds as low as 2.5 miles per hour. Due to these facts, you’ll likely need a medical treatment plan following an accident. 

Your treatment plan may include medication, rest, and at-home treatments. However, serious injuries often require the attention of specialists, so your doctor will refer you to one depending on their diagnosis and recommended treatment.

For instance, if you have a head or brain injury, you may receive a referral to a neurologist for further testing and treatment. Whiplash, chronic back pain, and shoulder aches may require a referral to a chiropractor or an orthopedist. 

Though your doctor can suggest a recovery period for your injuries, they cannot guarantee a specific timeline. However, you can expect your car accident doctor to complete the first appointment by giving you an idea of what your recovery and healing journey will look like. 

What to Say to a Doctor After a Car Accident

Your treatment and recovery depend on being open and honest with your car accident doctor. Though the medical professional will ask many questions during the initial visit to determine your health and the extent of your injuries, you can ensure they have sufficient information to diagnose and treat your injuries by providing enough information. 

During your first visit with the accident physician, prepare to provide details on the following topics.

Details of the Car Accident

Doctors specializing in treating car crash injuries understand the intricacies of these types of accidents. When they have sufficient information about the collision, they have a better grasp of the injuries and problems you may have resulting from the crash’s impact. 

For instance, you can tell the doctor these helpful details about the accident:

  • Your location in the car
  • How you were sitting at the time of the collision
  • Whether you wore a seatbelt
  • If you were a pedestrian or cyclist

Providing these details does not mean your doctor will judge you for your actions or behavior. It is solely to ensure the physician has enough information to correctly diagnose you, especially because some injuries don’t produce noticeable symptoms. Even though you might feel overwhelmed by the accident and might not remember all the details, be sure to tell your doctor as much as you can remember. 

How You Felt Following an Auto Collision

The adrenaline that floods your body during a shocking and traumatic experience like a car wreck can prevent you from feeling the effects of your injuries immediately. It’s common for injured drivers and passengers not to feel pain, soreness, and other symptoms until 24 hours after the accident. 

As you prepare for your initial doctor appointment, note when you start feeling the effects of the accident. It may be helpful to write down the type of symptoms you’re experiencing, their severity, and how long they last.

For instance, you might develop a headache soon after a car accident, making you more sensitive to light, loud noises, and certain smells. You could also feel an uncomfortable ache or soreness in your neck and shoulders. Keep all the details in mind and relay them to the accident doctor. 

Late-Occurring Symptoms

If you don’t develop injury symptoms within 24 hours of an accident, it doesn’t mean you don’t have an injury. Some injuries take time to produce warning signs that something is wrong with your body. Common car accident injuries with delayed symptoms include traumatic head and brain injuries, neck and back injuries, spinal injuries, whiplash, and sprains.

For example, if you have a head or brain injury, you might not experience noticeable symptoms immediately. However, you could experience the following problems:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping problems
  • Memory issues
  • Persistent shoulder, back, or neck pain
  • Chronic headaches
  • Changes in personality

Mental illness can also develop due to a car accident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. If you have one or more mental illnesses due to the trauma of the accident, you might feel anxious, hesitant, or afraid to drive or be inside a car. 

Though it can take time for your body to alert you to trouble, you should tell your doctor how you feel in the days and weeks following your accident.

Find An Experienced Doctor or Specialist You Need After an Auto Accident 

Instead of searching online for “car accident doctor near me,” turn to Metro Healthcare Partners to find the medical attention you need after a motor vehicle collision. 

Our 7,500 square-foot state-of-the-art healthcare facility in Brooklyn, New York City, is conveniently located near all mass transit and is just minutes from Kings Plaza Mall.

Our medical professionals are Workers’ Compensation Board Authorized Medical Providers and Board-Certified Physicians. Doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). 

Metro Health Care Partners at (718) 769-2521 to find a car accident doctor near you. Same-day appointments may be available.

Our medical specialists are ready to help if you have back pain after a car accident or another accident-related injury.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Doctor Visits

What Doctor Is the Best Doctor to See Immediately Following an Auto Accident?

It depends on the extent of your injuries. You may need to see a pain management doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist, or specialist like a neurologist an orthopedist if you need additional care. If you require immediate medical attention at an emergency room, you’ll see a doctor there. 

What Are the Red Flags of a Neck Injury From a Car Accident?

Red flags indicating a possible neck injury include severe pain, radiating pain around the neck, trouble walking, and a lack of coordination. You could also experience numbness or tingling in your arms, hands, or shoulders.

Will a Whiplash Injury From a Car Crash Show Up on an X-Ray?

According to Spinal Healthcare, medical imaging is not ideal for diagnosing whiplash because the injury does not appear on MRIs, X-rays, or CT scans. Instead, doctors rely on other methods to diagnose the condition, such as evaluating the patient’s pain, location, and whether it worsens with movement.

Should You Tell Your Doctor Your Injury Is the Result of a Car Accident?

You should always be truthful with your doctor and tell them the injury comes from a car accident. Car accident doctors have experience treating patients with accident-related injuries and assisting with personal injury claims, if necessary.