Sometimes your car accident injuries are so serious that you must take an ambulance. When it’s not as clear, it’s usually best to take a cautious approach and let the ambulance take you to the hospital.
Remember that ambulance costs will be covered by your car accident claim. That doesn’t mean you should take an ambulance if you really don’t need one, but you should not hesitate if there is any doubt.
Why should I take an ambulance instead of driving to the hospital?
In the moments after the accident, you may feel that your injuries really aren’t that bad. You may not even want to get evaluated by emergency medical personnel, let alone go to the emergency room in an ambulance. You may be more worried about what is going to happen to your car or the people you were riding with. Some people feel embarrassed by all the attention, or think that an ambulance ride will make them look weak. But your health comes first, and there are some very good reasons to take an ambulance to the hospital:
- You aren’t really thinking clearly. After an accident, adrenaline kicks in, and this can mask your symptoms, making you think you feel better than you really do. Most accident victims are in at least a mild state of shock and cannot fully appreciate what has just happened.
- You may get worse on the way to the hospital. Symptoms like difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, bleeding and disorientation can quickly grow worse, potentially threatening your life. If you are in an ambulance, emergency medical personnel can respond to any changes in your condition. If you are in an ordinary car, that aid isn’t available. And if you are driving, you potentially put others at risk as well.
- An ambulance will get you to the hospital more quickly. Some injuries need to be treated immediately or they can lead to long-term consequences or even death.
- The medics know which hospital to go to. Some hospitals are designated as trauma centers, while others specialize in heart conditions or other types of ailments. Emergency personnel will know where to take you, whereas you may not even know how to find the nearest emergency room.
How does taking an ambulance affect my personal injury claim?
Georgia law allows you to recover all your costs from a car accident that wasn’t your fault, including your medical bills and any time you lost from work. The other driver’s insurance company, however, will probably look for ways to pay you as little as possible. One of the ways they do this is to say that your injuries really aren’t as serious as you say they were.
When there is an ambulance available and you decide not to take it, the insurance company may use this against you, saying that if you were really that badly hurt, you would have taken the ambulance. This is especially common with whiplash and other “soft tissue” injuries that don’t have obvious outward signs. Taking an ambulance shows the insurance company that you knew your injuries were serious from the beginning. Of course, you don’t need to take an ambulance if you are certain that you really weren’t injured.
In an injury claim or a car accident lawsuit in Atlanta Georgia, a personal injury lawyer can use the fact that you took an ambulance as proof that your injuries were serious. A lawyer will combine your ambulance and emergency room records with other medical records and evaluations to show just how badly you were hurt and what treatment you will need in the future. Armed with this hard evidence, a lawyer can often convince the insurance company to offer you far more money than you would have gotten without legal help.
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