After a car accident, you have a lot to deal with. Police reports, insurance claims, vehicle damage — all these factors can add up and cause you added stress. However, if you sustained car accident injuries, they could be the most significant circumstances you face. Whether visiting an emergency room, experienced car accident doctor, or seeing your primary care doctor it’s always best to seek medical help for your vehicle accident injury right away.
Why You Should See a Car Accident Doctor
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident recently, you’re not alone. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, police reported more than 5.2 million crashes in 2020. Sadly, nearly 39,000 were fatal. Another 2.3 million resulted in injuries.
Each accident is unique. You may have discomfort or apparent injuries after a crash. Other times it may not be as obvious. It’s good to see a doctor even if you don’t feel pain or notice other symptoms.
After a traumatic event such as an accident, you may experience a rush of adrenaline that masks the pain or injury. This is a medical condition called stress-induced analgesia. It is part of the body’s “fight or flight” response and allows a person to cope during a crisis.
Stress-induced analgesia can benefit you in the short term when you’re waiting on police or medical care. However, you don’t want it to prevent you from seeking auto injury treatment when you need it.
Common Accident Injuries
People get injured in various ways during a car accident, but some are more typical than others.
Many car accident injuries fall into two categories:
- Penetrating injuries: Loose objects or glass cause cuts or scrapes
- Impact injuries: Passengers hit the steering wheel, dashboard or another part of the car, causing back or neck injuries, broken bones, etc.
These two categories break down into subcategories of common injuries that can determine what doctor to see after a car accident.
Soft Tissue Injury
The most common injury following a car accident is a soft tissue injury. It involves the ligaments, muscles or tendons.
One type of soft tissue injury you may associate with auto accidents is whiplash. It happens most frequently after a rear-end collision. Whiplash occurs when the neck is forcibly and suddenly pulled forward and backward.
Other types of soft tissue injuries are:
- Sprains (partial ligament tears due to a twisting motion)
- Contusions (bruises from blunt force)
- Bursitis (inflammation of the cushion between bones and tendons or muscles)
- Strains (muscle or tendon injuries)
- Shoulder impingement (inflamed shoulder tendons)
Injuries to Limbs
The impact of a collision can push your knees into the dashboard or throw your arms or legs against the door. You could have resulting sprains, strains, cuts, bruises or broken bones.
Passengers can hit the steering wheel, dashboard or even the seat belt. The force can cause bruising or broken ribs and require auto injury treatment.
Auto accidents can lead to back and other spine injuries. Sometimes the force of a crash causes the protective outer layer of the intervertebral disks to rupture. The trauma can lead to herniated disks or spinal stenosis.
The bones in the spine can fracture. Blunt force can also knock them out of place and push on the bones below, leading to a condition called spondylolisthesis.
Cuts and Scrapes
Broken glass can seem like the most obvious way to get scraped or cut in a car accident, but any loose object in your vehicle can become a projectile. Sunglasses, coffee mugs and briefcases can all collide with passengers and cause injuries.
Your head can experience a range of injuries during a car accident, from relatively minor to serious. The sudden change of direction can lead to:
- Muscle strains in the neck
- Brain injuries
It is a good idea to seek treatment for suspected head injuries.
Types of Doctors You May Need After an Accident
It can be confusing to sort out what doctor to see after a car accident. Many kinds of doctors can help you with treatment.
A neurologist treats the nervous system, brain and spinal cord. A car accident can severely jolt your head and body. As a result, you may have symptoms such as:
- Head and neck pain
- Loss of feeling in the extremities
- Numbness or tingling
- Light sensitivity
If you experience these kinds of symptoms, you may consider seeing a neurologist. He or she can work to identify if they are signs of a head or neck injury. You can get a referral from your primary care physician to see a neurologist.
A neurologist may treat injuries such as:
- Brain injuries
- Cerebral contusions
They can also treat other damage to the neck, head or spinal cord.
Like a neurologist, a neurosurgeon diagnoses and treats nervous system problems. As the title implies, a neurosurgeon can also perform surgery as part of a patient’s auto injury treatment.
Neurosurgeons are not limited to surgical remedies. They also use non-operative treatment methods. They may try therapy or medication to determine if a noninvasive procedure will work for the patient.
An orthopedist treats the musculoskeletal system. This system includes your joints, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Following a car accident, you may have symptoms such as:
- Inability to bear weight
- Stiffness or soreness
- Muscle spasms
You may consider seeing an orthopedist for these symptoms. The doctor can determine if they are signs of an orthopedic injury, such as a broken bone, fracture, back injury, torn ligament or muscle strain.
Orthopedic surgeons, also known as spine surgeons, can treat the same types of injuries as an orthopedist. They can also perform surgery if needed. They can help with joint replacement, soft tissue repair, and repairing fractures with plates or screws.
Pain Management Specialist
Many types of auto accident injuries can lead to pain. In some cases, the pain goes on for a very long time. When it lasts for more than three months, doctors call it chronic pain. Many people suffer from it; in fact, it affects more than 20% of people worldwide.
Chronic pain can be debilitating. It can prevent you from functioning even after an injury has supposedly healed. A pain management specialist is an auto accident doctor who can help people with chronic pain after an accident.
Following an accident or surgery, physical therapy can help patients:
- Improve range of motion
- Regain strength
- Prevent further injury
- Reduce long-term effects of surgery or injury
- Help manage pain
Physical therapists help patients get stronger and ease their pain with:
- Hands-on treatment
- Massage therapy
Physical therapy is a common treatment for a range of injuries.
If you have pain or injuries after an accident, there’s a good chance you will see a radiologist at some point. Radiologists use imaging techniques to diagnose patients. You may see a radiologist if you need:
- CT (computed tomography) scan
- PET (positron emission tomography) scan
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
- Fusion imaging
These tools allow radiologists to look at what’s going on inside your body. If professionals suspect a fracture or herniated discs, for example, an X-ray can help find a broken bone. An MRI can diagnose problems with soft tissue, such as a sprained wrist.
When you think of what doctor to see after a car accident, you may not think of a vascular surgeon right away. However, if you have surgery after a crash, you may deal with blood clots or deep-vein thrombosis. In fact, surgery is one of the main causes of DVT. Patients may be on the operating table or in bed for a long time, allowing blood to pool in one place and make it easier for a clot to form.
Blunt-force trauma from an auto accident can also lead to vascular injuries. Vascular surgeons treat the arteries and veins in the body except for the heart and brain. They can perform surgery if necessary, but they can also provide other forms of treatment.
Physiatrists are also called physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors. They treat many types of conditions people experience after a car accident. They work with ailments affecting:
- Spinal cord
- Ligaments and tendons
- Bones and joints
- Herniated disc
A physiatrist can play an important role as a vehicle accident doctor. A physiatrist can diagnose and treat pain resulting from an accident or injury. They often work with other specialists and physicians, focusing on the body as a whole and the patient’s ability to function.
Some of the treatments physiatrists use include:
- Injections in the joints or spine
- Disc decompression
- Impairment or disability assessment
- Nerve blocks or stimulations
Physiatrists can help with chronic pain, back pain, spinal cord injury, care after an operation, and more.
If your accident resulted in injury to your face or mouth, you might need dental treatment. You may experience a blunt force that knocks a tooth loose. Trauma may knock a tooth out or jam it back too far into the socket. You may also have lacerations to the gums, lips or jaw. Sometimes a passenger has a fractured tooth or jaw.
Dentists can help with injuries to the teeth, mouth and jaws. You may need:
- A root canal
- TMJ pain management
- Replacement fillings
- Tooth replantation
- Tooth extraction
Some dental problems may not take precedent over more severe injuries. However, it’s a good idea to visit a dentist as soon as possible for lost fillings or soreness in the mouth. Some dental issues are medical emergencies, though, such as a knocked-out tooth.
Podiatrists treat foot and ankle conditions. Your feet usually don’t have airbag protection in a crash; therefore, they can experience injuries. One of the most common foot injuries in car accidents is a pilon fracture. It is a break of the tibia or shinbone near the ankle.
Passengers in the front seat are most vulnerable to foot injuries. They can happen when a head-on crash smashes or deforms the vehicle’s foot compartment.
Podiatrists can provide auto injury treatment for foot and ankle injuries with stitches, a cast, a boot or brace, and surgery if needed.
As you may imagine, a car accident can lead to mental trauma just as easily as physical trauma. Serious accidents are often associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. After a crash, a patient may:
- Mentally relive the accident again and again
- Feel afraid to drive
- Have disturbed sleep patterns
- Feel irritable
- Startle easily
- Feel numb or emotionless
Patients can also struggle with depression or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms after an accident. A psychologist can be a vital auto accident doctor for someone suffering after a crash.
Patients with auto accident injuries often have inflammation as a result. A chiropractor may be able to help by providing adjustments and other treatment options that relieve swelling and pain, especially in the back and neck. The patient may experience a better range of motion with chiropractic treatment.
Traditional medicine has used acupuncture for thousands of years. It has a reputation for relieving many conditions, including chronic pain. An acupuncture specialist may be able to use the treatment to help you with soft tissue damage, pain and musculoskeletal injuries. Some patients find that acupuncture helps with stress and anxiety.
Sometimes it takes a group effort to treat a patient after a vehicle accident. A multidisciplinary group is a team of specialists who work together to deliver a care plan.
A multidisciplinary group may include doctors, nurses, therapists and health educators. The group can also include allied health professionals such as:
- Pain management specialists
- Dental assistants
- Diagnostic medical professionals
- Pharmacy technicians
- Speech-language pathologists
- Respiratory therapists
The benefits of working with a multidisciplinary group are many. Communication among the team members is efficient since they work as a unit. Patients enjoy easier access to care when multiple professionals care for them. They may experience better outcomes due to the collective knowledge of the group.
Finding Car Accident Doctors
You may be in excruciating pain, and not know where to turn after a car accident. That’s how the professionals at No-Fault Doctors can help you. We know it’s good to seek auto injury treatment, even when you don’t experience pain or other symptoms right away. We have a free directory of experienced professionals in helping auto accident patients. If you are a personal injury attorney looking to find the best doctor after an accident who accepts medical liens or LOP (letter of protection), you’ve come to the right resource. Whether you see primary care doctors or specialists, you will receive medical documentation and proper treatment for your specific injuries.
We can help you find experienced injury doctors near you conveniently located in counties throughout New Jersey, New York City and surrounding areas. You should seek medical care as soon as possible after an injury. Our doctors specialize in treating injuries and accept no-fault insurance, workers’ compensation, and other health insurance company plans that can cover your medical bills. Call us today at 888-970-5065 or visit our website to get help starting on your treatment plan. Same-day appointments may be available. Call today and get on the road to recovery.