Emergency rooms in Oregon serve a vital role by providing immediate medical care and injury assessment after a car accident. Even if you are feeling fine after an accident, it helps to visit the emergency room to get a medical check-up.
Sometimes the signs of injury may not show externally, and a medical professional can diagnose your condition or order a more detailed medical investigation. Knowing a few key things about visiting an emergency room will help you be better prepared in the aftermath of an Oregon car accident.
#1 - What is an ER (Emergency Room)?
The ER is a dedicated department in a medical center or a hospital. Unlike a physician’s office, you do not require a prior appointment. However, this means a multitude of people may be seeking treatment at an ER at the same time. If this is the case, patients with most urgent problems will be treated first.
#2 - On Arrival at the ER
When you arrive at the ER, you will meet the triage nurse (a nurse trained in providing emergency care), who will ask you about the problem. They will check your body temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. If your injury appears to be severe, a doctor will see you right away.
Otherwise you may have to wait for some time. While you are waiting at the ER, if you feel that your condition is changing or worsening, you should immediately inform the triage nurse.
#3 - Your Emergency Care
To diagnose your condition or rule out certain injuries, the doctor may order x-rays, blood tests, or other lab work. You should wait until the test results are available. Based on the initial diagnosis, you may have to see another doctor specializing in that area.
If the doctor says that they want you to stay for some time for observation of your symptoms, but not for hospital admission, you should have someone check with your insurance carrier whether this service is covered.
#4 - Discharge from ER
The ER acts as a triage with a goal to determine the extent of your injuries early on. Emergency rooms in Oregon are not designed to provide ongoing medical care, except in very severe cases where immediate surgery is advised, or the patient’s condition is life-threatening.
If the doctor determines that your injury does not require further immediate treatment or is not deemed to be life-threatening, they will discharge you with instructions to follow up with a specialist or with your primary care physician. Make sure that you follow this instruction of the ER team.
#5 - Keep the Medical Records and Photographs
If you fail to visit the ER after being involved in accident, or do not get any documentation from there on the day of the injury, then at the time of making a personal injury claim in Oregon, it could be your word against the word of the other driver.
In absence of emergency room documentation, the other side can argue that there is no way to determine whether your pain is from an old injury or from the injury you suffered in the accident. While at the ER, you should ideally also have someone photograph your visible injuries.
#6 - Be Careful of What Statements You Make
During your visit to the emergency room in Oregon, the triage nurse or another medical professional may ask you questions about how the injury occurred. Try to stick to the bare facts while responding on how the accident took place.
A concise statement such as “The other driver rear-ended me,” or “I was T-boned” may be all right, but a long-winded description of the incident should be avoided as it could only compromise your personal injury claim.
You should remember that it is not the job of a doctor or a nurse to ask about the cause of the car crash. Their sole focus is on treating your injuries. However, if you voluntarily engage in a conversation about what happened, there is a risk that a nurse may later recount your description to your disadvantage. If such a statement becomes a part of your medical record, you will have to live with it.
#7 - Focus on Describing Your Symptoms
While your first natural instinct would be to describe your condition in the areas that are causing more pain, you should not ignore the other areas where the pain or discomfort may be seemingly minor or insignificant.
During your medical examination, make sure you inform the medical professional about every little symptom. Many personal injury cases in Oregon have shown that areas that the victim initially ignored gave rise to serious symptoms or proved to be chronic at a later stage.
#8 - The Role of the Primary Care Physician
Many people wonder why they shouldn’t just visit their regular physician if they are feeling all right after being in a car accident. The answer is that while it is not mandatory to visit an emergency room on the same day of the accident, it is a legally astute approach.
The victim should then follow up with a visit to their primary care physician within a few days. This will allow them to obtain reports from two different medical professionals that will serve to bolster their evidence in case of a personal injury claim.
Furthermore, the primary care physician can provide some valuable insights to strengthen the victim’s case, which the ER doctor cannot provide. The primary care physician will know the patient’s medical history and is better placed to attest to the fact that their pain arose at the time of the accident and was not in existence from an earlier time.
#9 - Returning Home from the ER
If the doctor at the emergency room determines that you can be discharged from the ER without being admitted to the hospital, you should preferably have a family member or friend drive you back home.
Obtain the written instructions from the doctor about further care and any prescriptions for medications. If you have any questions or are unclear about the post-treatment care instructions, make sure you clarify with the doctor or the nurse before you leave.
#10 - Delayed Medical Attention Could Hurt Your Claim
If you waited before visiting the emergency room or seeing a doctor following your car accident in Oregon, it will become a red flag for your insurance adjuster.
They could argue that your injuries stemming from the accident are not serious because you did not feel the need to seek medical attention right away. Such arguments may not always work, but sometimes these could significantly limit your compensatory damages.
Consult a Competent Oregon Personal Injury Attorney
Following your visit to the emergency room to have your car accident injuries treated, your first step should be to get in touch with an accomplished personal injury lawyer in Oregon. Unlike the insurance adjuster, the lawyer will be on your side to protect your best interests.
If your accident occurred in Oregon, call the lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss who are highly experienced in handling personal injury cases. Make an appointment today by calling at 1-800-285-8678.
What is your side of the story? We only win if you win. You pay us nothing unless we win your case. Call us now!