COVID-19 and Car Accidents: What happens now?

PMR Law

Even with all the measures in place to stop the COVID-19 outbreak, there are so-called essential businesses and people that need to go on with their lives. This means that there are still plenty of people on the road – many of whom are incredibly distracted either from worrying about their family or health or by the panic caused by social media. This results in auto accidents.

Essential workers or anyone who is injured in an accident due to conditions caused by COVID-19 can incur high bills for medical care. Combined with a temporary or permanent inability to work, the impact can have devastating effects. In some cases, the injury can be fatal, leaving the victim’s family members to deal with the consequences.

Let’s combine this with the growing number of essential workers rushing to their cars, SUVs, and vans trying to get to their destinations (such as ambulances urgently transporting the sick and injured to hospitals) and this leads to an increased risk for accidents to occur.

 Should you get medical attention or go to a hospital after an accident during the COVID-19 outbreak? Should you avoid it? What if you do not receive medical attention?

Here are some of the steps you should take after being in an auto accident:

1) Should I go to the Emergency Room after a car accident during the COVID-19 pandemic?

After a car accident during this outbreak, evaluate your need for emergency treatment with the impact it will have on health services, and the risk you will be exposed by being in a place that has a high potential for contagion. If you are bleeding, have broken bones, suffered a head injury, or are in considerable pain, the Emergency Room is the right choice.

On the other hand, if you are injured and do not go to the Emergency Room, it is still important that you get medical treatment within the first few days after the crash. Not only it is vital to your health – you may be seriously hurt and do not know it yet – but if you wait too long, the insurance company can use this against you. Waiting too long, even because of COVID-19 measures, can affect your case.

2) What do I do if I don’t go to the Emergency Room after a car accident during the COVID-19 outbreak? What are my options?

Consider going to an emergency clinic, an orthopedic clinic, or your primary doctor. If they require appointments, make one immediately, and keep a record of when you requested it and when it was given. A doctor must determine what type of treatment you require as soon as possible. Find a local healthcare provider that has implemented good filtering mechanisms. For example: Are staff members taking patients’ temperature upon arrival at the clinic?

Some medical providers, including primary doctors, physical therapists, and orthopedists, are offering telemedicine options. This means that after being injured you can see a medical provider via video conferences like FaceTime or Zoom, and avoid the risk of exposure.

Document your efforts to obtain treatment!

Our health system will be subject to a high level of activity for the next few months and maybe years. Healthcare providers are implementing measures, but because of the high volume of patients being seen, this can result in appointment delays. For the benefit of your case, always document who you called for care, when it happened, and the outcome.

If you are going to have a lapse in your care (typically seen as a negative by the insurance company), at the least you should be able to show that you sought treatment and the result of your efforts. Did you call at 10 AM on a Thursday and were told to call back in a week? Did you call a week later and were told the same thing? All documentation can come in handy when you are building your injury case. You don’t want to be stuck with medical bills if you were injured and you weren’t at fault – with or without COVID-19.

3) Is it critical to get treatment immediately after a car accident during COVID-19? Can I wait a few weeks?

Do not wait. It is important to get prompt and consistent medical treatment while you are in pain. In Texas, the injured party bears the burden of proving the existence of his or her injuries. The best way to do this is to get immediate medical care for such injuries. Otherwise, you may end up not receiving the compensation you deserve.

Don’t hesitate to get specialized care. If you have pain in your back, neck, or joints, and that has not improved after a few days, you may need to be referred to an orthopedist or other certified specialist as soon as possible. Time is of the essence.  Health professionals are on the “essential business” list, so they will be open.

4) I was told that I am under a curfew. Can I leave the house to get medical treatment after an accident?

Even when a curfew or stay-at-home order is in effect, an injured person is always allowed to leave their home for medical treatment.

5) Is the insurance claim during COVID-19 handled in the same way as before?

Yes, during the pandemic, claim submissions work as normal. Make sure your healthcare providers has your health plan information. It will then be determined how your medical bills will be presented during the claim process. DO NOT trust the insurance company when they tell you they will pay your medical bills – at least not without reading the fine print. That is where some hidden details can be found that the insurer may be trying to conceal.

6) I am still confused over some issues. Who can I call for answers?

If you still have questions or concerns about how coronavirus can affect your injury claim, call us for a free case evaluation. It doesn’t hurt to contact us. We are happy to help you. You can contact us 24/7 at 832-667-7700, by chat or by filling out a contact form.

WE ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU, AND WORKING FOR OUR CUSTOMERS DURING THIS CRISIS

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, don’t let the COVID-19 quarantine prevent you from getting justice. PMR Law is operating at full capacity, and we continue to fight for our clients, using technology and proprietary software to get the job done. Call 832-667-7700 or contact us for a free case evaluation.

PMR Law is considered one of the Best Law Firms of America, by Rue Ratings. Several of our attorneys have been given the honor of being named Super Lawyers by Thomson Reuters. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named our attorneys 10 Best in Client Satisfaction. Speaking of personal injury, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded our attorneys with Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney distinctions. The National Trial Lawyers have named three of our attorneys as Top 100 attorneys. The Academy of Attorneys has named two of our attorneys as Top 40 Under 40. Our attorneys have been recognized as Best Attorneys of America, by Rue Ratings. PMR Law is a proud member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocate Forum.

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