Car accident rates are increasing; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted an alarming spike in traffic fatalities in 2021 when compared to 2020, despite fewer people driving. Even if you are lucky enough to survive a car crash, you may still suffer from injuries that can range from mild to life-altering.
Your primary care physician, paramedic, or emergency room doctor is usually sufficient to deal with minor injuries and insurance claims, but they will often refer you to a specialist for more severe injuries. Getting medical attention soon after the accident is vital, so if your primary care provider is fully booked for the next week, consider reaching out to an experienced car accident doctor instead.
You may be reluctant to see a stranger instead of your GP (general practitioner), but doing so may be the best option for you. Auto accident doctors have the right skill set to provide you with excellent auto-accident-related care, which may be beneficial, especially if your injuries are severe. We strongly recommend seeing a car accident doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms after your accident:
Car accidents can affect every part of your body, from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries that can take weeks to appear. Specialists are better equipped to diagnose and treat your specific injuries and will often be able to see you within a reasonable time frame after your accident.
Dealing with auto insurance companies after an accident can feel as stressful as the accident itself. If you’re relying on insurance to cover your medical bills, you’ll need clear evidence that the accident was responsible for your injuries and that you’ve received appropriate medical treatment for those injuries.
An auto accident doctor will be familiar with what insurance companies want to see on a claim form, in addition to knowing how to handle medical insurance claims. At Medical Clinics of New York City, our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection), and will work with your insurance to get your claim accepted.
Car accident injuries can vary dramatically, so knowing which doctor to see can feel intimidating. Instead of simply typing “auto accident doctor near me” into your Google search, visit a clinic with multiple auto accident and work injury doctors, or ask your primary care physician to help you decide which doctor is the best fit for your condition.
Doctors that treat auto injuries include:
Emergency room doctors: These are often the front-line doctors that treat immediate, life-threatening injuries.
Neurologists: Traumatic brain injuries can be devastating, and neurologists have the necessary training to detect them early to prevent them from getting worse. They also deal with spinal cord and neck injuries.
Pain management doctors: Many auto accident injuries create chronic pain, and these doctors will prescribe medication and other pain-relieving strategies to alleviate as much pain as safely as possible.
Trauma surgeons: These surgeons deal with traumatic, critical injuries, such as internal injuries, shock, burns, and lost limbs.
Orthopedic surgeons: These doctors focus on joints and bones and work with patients to restore mobility and relieve pain after car accident.
Burn specialists: While car fires are relatively rare, they can happen. Burn surgeons can help patients recover from the severe trauma associated with serious burns.
Plastic surgeons: These surgeons address damage to the face and body through reconstructive surgery.
General surgeons: These surgeons work to stabilize patients after a car crash by treating internal injuries and other life-threatening situations.
Physical therapists: Auto accidents often result in loss of mobility due to torn ligaments, broken bones, and spinal injuries. Physical therapists work with patients to restore mobility and function and improve strength and endurance after a collison.
Ideally, you should see an auto accident doctor immediately after your car crash. While paramedics are skilled at recognizing and treating serious injuries on the scene, they do not provide a full medical exam that may be necessary to identify all of your injuries.
In most cases, paramedics will recommend you see a doctor after your accident, but even if they don’t, we strongly recommend seeking medical treatment within 72 hours of your accident. Even if you feel fine, you may be masking injuries with anti-inflammatories, painkillers, or even sheer adrenaline, but a skilled physician will be able to detect these injuries and start treatment.
After a motor vehicle accident, it’s essential to see a doctor. Even if you do not think you are injured, you do not want to risk it. Putting off seeing the doctor will delay your treatment and can lead to pain and suffering for longer. It may also put you at risk of your treatment not being covered by insurance as it will be harder to connect your injuries to the accident.
Seeing a doctor experienced in treating auto accident injuries will help you get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. This medical specialist will be familiar with the type of injuries to look for. The following are just some of the most common auto injuries that your doctor will likely check. There are 3 million people sustaining injuries in auto accidents annually in the United States alone; you may also have other injuries than those described below.
It should not be surprising that broken bones are among the common car accident injuries in New York. Your bones cannot handle the impact and stress associated with car collisions. You can break various bones in a car accident, from the seatbelt fracturing your ribs to your arm getting stuck between the door and your body to your fingers breaking on the steering wheel. Every fracture injury is different and should be evaluated by an orthopedist.
Bruising is another common auto injury. Even those in minor collisions are likely to have bruises. Although some bruises can be less severe than other injuries, they may require medical attention. However, it is recommended to visit your doctor to confirm the severity of injuries during your post-accident examination.
As part of diagnostics, neurologists commonly complete tests like lumbar punctures, nerve conduction studies, electromyography, and electroencephalography. Other tests they require include magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and computer-assisted tomography.
There is a distinction between a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeons are surgeons who specialize in neurology, while neurologists do not perform surgery.
Neurologists do perform some procedures, including the NCS/EMG and LP tests mentioned above. Those with specialization can also perform other procedures, such as endovascular procedures and autonomic testing.
There can be a range of minor to severe injuries requiring a neurologist’s attention after a car accident. An example of a serious injury would be a rupture or herniation of the spinal discs. These are not only painful, but they also limit your mobility. This type of injury may not be permanent, but you should typically expect a longer recovery time and the potential that your doctor may suggest surgery.
Although not something most people want to think about, a neurologist will often deal with traumatic brain injuries. These can be life-altering. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) will change how your brain functions, potentially including how it processes emotions and handles information. There is some degree of recovery from brain injuries, but it can require lifelong treatment and adaptations.
Whiplash is when the muscles and ligaments in your body move back and forth suddenly, leading to strains. Whiplash can be incredibly painful and may take weeks to recover. Luckily, although painful, it may not be as severe as some other auto accident-related injuries. Just be sure not to rule out whiplash simply because you do not have symptoms right away. It can take days, weeks, or even months for symptoms to appear.
After a car accident, seeing a neurologist is always a good idea as this specialist can diagnose your injuries, provide treatment, recommend therapy, refer you to another specialist, and more.
The sooner you see a doctor after a car wreck, the sooner you can begin treatment and start to feel better. Most people prefer to get back to their daily lives quickly after an accident, which only possible if you seek and receive proper treatment.
By getting your injuries diagnosed and treated early, you reduce your risk of aggravating them. For example, if you continue to use a broken bone, it may heal incorrectly. Or if you get nerve damage, you could lose feeling in your limbs.
In addition to providing treatment, your neurologist will provide you with documentation that confirms your injuries and the timeline. If you do not have proper documentation, some carriers may argue that your injuries did not result from the accident and deny coverage.
A doctor specializing in auto accidents is the best doctor to see after a car accident. You may see several doctors depending on your injuries. For example, a neurologist can treat traumatic brain injuries and spinal concerns, while an orthopedic surgeon is better suited to deal with broken bones and torn ligaments.
Visiting a clinic that specializes in accident injuries will give you access to doctors from multiple specialties, ensuring you can see the best doctor for your situation.
You should see a neurologist after a car accident if you experience any symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, confusion, loss of memory, or inability to sleep.
At Medical Clinics of New York City, we can help you find the right auto accident doctor to address your needs after a car crash. Even if you feel fine, scheduling an evaluation can give you peace of mind, and same-day appointments may be available. Schedule an appointment with us today and get back on the road to recovery!
Board Certified Neurologist
Neurologist + PT, Chiro