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How Long Do You Have to See a Doctor After an Accident in Texas?

If you get injured in an accident in Texas, one of the first things you should do is seek medical attention as soon as possible. Going to a doctor immediately after an accident can help you protect your rights as you seek financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses. Most importantly, it can lead to a prompt diagnosis of an injury so that you receive the medical treatment and care that you need.

Why You Should Seek Immediate Medical Attention After an Accident

While there is no absolute time limit for when you must see a doctor after an accident to qualify for financial compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, it is generally advisable for victims to seek medical care without delay. If you wait too long, it can be difficult to prove that your injury was caused by the accident instead of an unrelated incident or a pre-existing condition.

Your Health and Safety

Getting the treatment that you need can improve your chances of making a physical recovery as much as possible. You may need surgery, physical therapy or rehabilitation to recover from an injury and restore your previous level of function in the affected area. Waiting to see a doctor could exacerbate an injury or allow a minor injury to become a major one.

The Possibility of Hidden Injuries

Many accident victims are unaware that they could have injuries that do not show symptoms right away. This is especially true if the accident causes an adrenaline rush that masks the pain of an injury. Even serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, can have delayed symptoms that do not arise until hours or even days after an accident, such as dizziness, headaches, fatigue, nausea and blurred vision. Professional medical care can detect and diagnose hidden injuries as early as possible.

Mitigating Your Losses

From an insurance company’s perspective, a prompt visit to a doctor shows that you were injured in the accident listed on the claim. This can help you qualify for compensation from the at-fault party’s policy. It also demonstrates that you did what you could to reasonably mitigate, or diminish, your losses in connection to an accident injury.

There may not be an exact timeline for seeking treatment following an accident in Texas, but waiting more than two weeks could hurt you physically, legally and financially. Waiting too long can complicate an insurance claim and reduce your ability to recover the compensation that you deserve.

What to Do After an Accident in Texas

As an accident victim, you have the ability to hurt or help your personal injury case with the actions you take or do not take. An insurance company will automatically look for reasons to reduce your payout or reject the claim. Insurance companies are for-profit organizations that want to protect their bottom lines. You can help your claim succeed by taking the correct steps after an accident.

These steps include:

  • Document the accident. Report the accident to the proper authorities, such as calling 911 after a car accident to obtain an accident report. You should also take photographs and gather witness information while you are still at the scene.
  • Get medical care right away. Go to the nearest hospital or visit your primary care physician as soon as possible. This can help you comply with insurance requirements, which often give policyholders a limited amount of time to see a doctor.
  • Gather records. Contact your doctor to obtain your medical records, including any x-rays or treatment plans, connected to your injury. You can submit these to an insurance company to verify that your injuries are directly related to the accident.
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment plan. An insurance company will check to see if you have attended all recommended doctor’s appointments and followed your doctor’s treatment orders. If you deviate from the care regime, this could give an insurer a reason to reduce your payout.

When you are ready to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit in Texas, consult with an Austin car accident attorney for legal advice and assistance. If you did not seek immediate medical care, your attorney can still work to help you prove your injuries and losses. This includes demonstrating that your injuries are directly linked to the accident.

How Long Do You Have to File an Insurance Claim?

How long you have to file an insurance claim varies depending on the insurance company and the terms outlined in the policy you’re utilizing. It’s crucial to review your policy to understand the insurer’s specified deadline for filing a claim and seeking medical treatment for any injuries sustained. While there is no definitive timeframe applicable nationwide, it’s generally advisable not to delay seeking medical attention after an accident. Waiting too long, such as beyond 14 days, can complicate your case with insurance providers, who may argue that your injuries aren’t as severe as claimed.

Two-Year Window for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Texas

Regardless of when you see a doctor after an accident, you must file a personal injury claim within two years of the accident under Texas’s statute of limitations. This is a law that limits the ability to file a lawsuit to a certain timeframe.

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a) states:

“TWO-YEAR LIMITATIONS PERIOD. (a) Except as provided by Sections 16.010, 16.0031, and 16.0045, a person must bring suit for trespass for injury to the estate or to the property of another, conversion of personal property, taking or detaining the personal property of another, personal injury, forcible entry and detainer, and forcible detainer not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues.”

One exception to the rule is in a case of wrongful death:

“(b) A person must bring suit not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues in an action for injury resulting in death. The cause of action accrues on the death of the injured person.” In this case, a plaintiff has two years from the date of death rather than the date of the accident, if these two dates differ.

Don’t Wait to Take Legal Action

Certain circumstances may lengthen or shorten your filing window. This is why it is important to contact a personal injury attorney in Austin without delay. If you were recently injured in an accident in Texas, contact FVF Law to request a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We can help you understand the timeline of your case and what you need to do to remain eligible for insurance coverage.

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Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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