Children should be seen by a doctor after any car accident, but your child may not need to go to the emergency room if he or she does not seem to have any injuries. A good rule of thumb is “better safe than sorry.” If you are worried that your child has been injured, emergency rooms have the equipment and training to diagnose and treat accident injuries, whereas your family doctor will probably have to refer you to a lab for x-rays and other tests.
If you decide not to go to the ER, you should still schedule an appointment with a doctor. Monitor your child for symptoms or changes in behavior that could indicate an injury. Young children especially cannot describe what they are feeling or tell you when something isn’t right. See a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you don’t think you child has been hurt.
How do I know if the ER is necessary?
If emergency medics respond to your accident, let them take your child to the ER if they recommend it. Emergency medical personnel are trained to evaluate accident injuries, and if they believe your child needs attention at the hospital, it’s wise to listen.
Many minor accidents fall into a gray area. Your children may not be bleeding and may not seem to have any trouble moving around. They may not have cried much. If they are old enough, they may tell you they feel fine. This can lead you to think that your child hasn’t been hurt. But for both children and adults, car accidents release hormones that can hide symptoms of injuries. Many accident victims don’t feel anything at first, but later they may develop symptoms of muscle and “soft tissue” injuries, or a head injury.
Here are signs and signals that you should go to the ER, either right after the accident, or in the hours or days to follow:
- You have an infant. Infants are especially fragile, and even a minor impact can cause serious injuries to a baby. And an infant can’t tell you what’s wrong.
- Your child tells you something hurts or that they feel dizzy or have a headache.
- Your child hit their head. An impact to the head can lead to anything from a mild concussion to a life-changing brain injury.
- You notice changes or symptoms, such as excessive crying or fussiness, a change in appetite, vomiting or personality changes.
- You’re worried. When you are worried and anxious, your child will pick up on this. A trip to the ER can reassure you that your child is ok, give you a diagnosis and treatment plan, or help you understand what to watch out for. When you feel calmer, it can lessen your child’s distress too.
Are there other advantages to going to the emergency room?
Yes, a trip to the emergency room can help you make a strong insurance claim. Georgia law allows car accident victims to recover the full cost of their injuries from whoever caused the accident. That means you should be able to get the cost of emergency room care, other treatment for you and your children, and the cost to repair or replace your car.
But if you wait too long to get medical attention, the car insurance company may try to deny your claim. It may say your child wasn’t really injured in the accident, or wasn’t hurt as badly as you claim. A trip to the emergency room shows that you knew your child was hurt, and it can prove the types of injuries caused by the accident.
In addition to getting prompt medical attention, it is important to set up a free consultation with one of the Atlanta Georgia car accident law firms. Accidents that involve children are more complicated than other accident claims because the courts may have to be involved in approving accident settlements involving children. A car accident lawyer can handle the process for you and help you get the most money possible from the insurance company.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have been helping parents and children get money for their car accident injuries for decades. We start every case with a FREE consultation, and we never charge you anything unless we can get money for you. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.