It's been about 4 or 5 days since my car accident...(12/13/12 Evening)
During that time I did not feel any pain what-so-ever. Here it is, Monday, Tuesday and my neck, back, and especially head, has begun to hurt. I continuously get headaches and migraines followed by a constant hot/cold neck feeling. I've been really tired over the weekend which is very unusual according to my regular daily routines. When I spoke to his insurance agency, Geico, I made them aware that my head was hurting. However, I did not go to the ER.
I was stopped behind a vehicle and the man in the vehicle behind me rear ended me. Luckily my car did not hit the one in front of me. My question is, since it's been over 72 hrs is it still possible to seek treatment and possibly have his insurance pay for the bills or possibly provide medical attention? I am filing a police report and do not know what the next step is exactly. If you would, please point me in the right direction. I live in New Jersey. Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Hi there, Michelle here...
I am very sorry to hear about your accident, and have lots to share about what is happening for you.
First, it is very normal to leave the accident scene feeling good or not in pain, and then find you are injured days later. Often it can take as long as 10 days to 2 weeks before pain appears. You are injured, your injury is from your car accident.
Schedule an appointment with your medical doctor for today if you can. You need to see her or him so they can evaluate your injuries and make sure there is nothing more serious happening.
After seeing your medical doctor, make an appointment with a chiropractor and start treatment. The chiropractor will do a set of X-rays and give you a treatment plan.
The chiropractor will make sure you have therapeutic massage as well, as your muscles are going to need treatment along with the bones. The chiropractic care with the therapeutic massage will start helping you right away.
Headaches, neck pain and fatigue are all very typical and normal symptoms after an accident. To read more about symptoms, you can see this page: Whiplash Symptoms
Next, you do not need permission from any insurance company to seek treatment. You say you are from New Jersey, in New Jersey (see link below), you are required to carry PIP coverage on your own insurance.
This coverage is for you after you get in an accident. It works like this: you are injured in an accident, and regardless of who is at fault - your own car insurance pays the medical.
So, call your own car insurance, tell them you are injured and you need to open a PIP claim. In New Jersey you have 2 full years after your injury to seek medical care.
After you are finished treating, your own car insurance will collect all their medical costs back from the at fault drivers insurance...your insurance will then step out of the way, and you will reach a negotiation for a financial settlement with the at fault drivers insurance.
This financial settlement is intended to compensate you for what is called the pain and suffering of your accident: things like missed work to go to medical appointments, cost of gas and time for medical care, being unable to do things in your normal life due to injury.
Everyone is very different in how the accident affects their personal lives.
For instance- I currently have a client who cannot do her housework as her hand was broken by the air bag during her accident. If her insurance did not pay for the housekeeper up front, then she could take the bills and include them as part of the pain and suffering settlement.
So, call your insurance, open a PIP claim.
And please talk to an attorney. You are injured, and I think you need a lawyer. At the very least a free consultation to sort out how an attorney can help you.
Because car accidents cause people’s lives to be turned a bit upside down, one of the things I always advocate is help from a lawyer.
Lawyers who work specifically with car accident cases know how to make sure you receive fair compensation, but more importantly they navigate the insurance issues for you, leaving you free to receive treatment without additional stress.
We provide a form to help you find a local attorney as I feel it is so important for folks to have help after accidents. Here is that as well, you can just fill out the form and a local lawyer will reach out to you for a free consult.
Be well, hope this helps!
Here is the link for your state: New Jersey On this page are the rules and other insurance information that is specific to your state.