In the aftermath of an auto accident, it’s hard to think clearly. Shock and trauma can muddle the brain, while adrenaline makes it hard to discern what’s really happening in our bodies.
Each year, about 1 percent of the U.S. population will be injured in an auto accident. One study found that motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are the most common traumatic event experienced by males and the second most common traumatic event experienced by females.
Unfortunately, the disorientation caused by trauma often prompts accident victims to walk away from the scene without seeking medical treatment. In many cases, Portland MVA victims don’t discover they’ve sustained whiplash or other injuries until much later—and this can compound their suffering down the road.
Why the First 72 Hours are Critical
If you’re involved in a Portland MVA, it’s wise to seek medical care immediately, even if you don’t think you’re injured. Why?
Medical doctors agree that most injuries respond best to treatment within the first 72 hours—that’s when the swelling from whiplash reaches its peak. A soft tissue injury can cause permanent scar tissue in the muscles, which can be particularly hard to treat if not addressed right away. Plus, you’ll be at greater risk of re-injury in the future.
Getting treated immediately makes it easier to file an insurance claim for your injuries. Oregon law requires accident victims to file a traffic accident and insurance report within 72 hours of the collision; if an injury emerges days or weeks later, it will be harder to prove you sustained it during the crash.
What to Do After a Portland MVA
If you’re involved in an auto accident, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Then follow these steps outlined by the Oregon DMV:
STEP 1: Seek medical attention. This should be your first priority, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
STEP 2: Get a police report. Contact the police and provide a detailed description of the accident. Be honest about what happened, but don’t admit fault. That’s for the insurance company to determine.
STEP 3: Take notes. Take photos of your injuries, if possible, and keep detailed records of all healthcare practitioners you visit and treatments you receive. Save all receipts, medical bills and correspondence related to your injuries.
At Northwest Primary Care, we provide a variety of treatment options for Portland MVA victims who suffer from injuries such as whiplash; back and neck pain; muscle strain; shoulder injuries; and elbow, wrist and hand fractures. Our practitioners will work with you to formulate the best possible treatment plan to help you get on the road to recovery.