In the traumatic aftermath of accidents, one question frequently arises: when is it too late to go to the doctor after a car accident? 

Do you know that 1.3 million people die each year in car crashes? 

So consider yourself lucky that you have survived a car accident. 

But this does not mean you are completely fine and do not need a doctor’s visit at all.

Some people make the mistake of not taking the accident injuries seriously and end up with severe health implications later on. 

Most car injuries do not show up right after the accident, such as fractures and sprain, but later develop into severe issues. 

Besides, delaying a medical checkup after an accident also badly affects your personal injury claim. 

So it’s not just your health that is going to suffer; you will also put your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage at stake.

If you have waited for the doctor’s visit and now want to know, “When is it too late to go to the doctor after a car accident?” This guide is for you.

Table of Contents:

  • Why Some People Avoid Going To The Doctor After A Car Accident?
  • Is It Necessary To See A Doctor After A Car Accident?
  • Will My Injury Case Be Affected If I Wait Too Long?
  • When Is The Best Time To Visit A Doctor After An Accident?
  • What If I Am Unable To Find My Primary Care Physicians Within The First 72 Hours?
  • What If I Am Too Late To See A Doctor After A Car Accident?
  • FAQs

Why Do Some People Avoid Going To The Doctor After A Car Accident?

Many people choose not to visit a doctor after an accident just to end up asking, “When is it too late to go to a doctor after a car accident?

This question is followed by the onset of symptoms quite a while after the accident. The most common reasons for not visiting a doctor earlier are:

  • They do not feel the pain due to the delayed symptom of the injury.
  • The immediate stress has released the adrenaline, which temporarily masked the pain.
  • The pain was negligible, making you think it could go away with home remedies.

Is It Necessary To See A Doctor After A Car Accident?

Yes, it is so important to see a doctor after a car collision.

You may not realize right after the accident, but some car crashes result in severe mobility issues, whiplash, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other problems. 

You might assume these injuries are not serious enough to seek medical aid. 

But over time, they turn into a lot of complications, negatively impacting your health and work.

So, visiting a doctor will give you a better understanding of your situation. 

Besides, if you intend to pursue a car accident claim, this will help document your claim for all your personal injuries.

doctor examining an injury on x-ray

Will My Injury Case Be Affected If I Wait Too Long?

The longer you will delay treatment, the worse your injuries will get. 

But, it won’t stop here because your medical bills will spike as you will be going under severe treatment. 

What else? The compensation will be badly affected so that you won’t be getting much from your personal injury claim.

But how does a delayed medical visit after an accident affect the lawsuit?

Here is why a needless delay in acquiring medical aid will influence your claim.

Delays weaken the correlation between the injury and the accident

For your claim to be reasonable, you need medical experts who testify that the injury resulted from the accident. 

However, the delay makes it difficult for the doctors to make this statement. 

They might not find a direct relation between your medical issue and the accident for which you are claiming compensation.

Delays leave room for something else to happen

If you wait to see a doctor, there is a possibility that you might encounter another car accident in the meantime.

For instance, you’ve hurt your knee but did not seek medical help for 3 months or more. 

During that time, you were caught in another minor collision that had nothing to do with your initial knee problem. 

But how would you prove to the insurer that the knee injury was a result of this accident and not from the later one? 

If you had visited the doctor promptly, you might have avoided this troublesome confusion.

Delays give the impression that your problem is not severe.

If you waited for a couple of months before visiting the doctor, it would be quite logical for the insurer to deny the severity of your injury. 

We have heard many insurers raising the question in the court, “Why did you wait for 6 months if you were in such severe pain?”. 

So don’t wait and go to the doctor even if your injury is not severe. 

When Is The Best Time To Visit A Doctor After Having A Car Accident?

So you have got the point of why you shouldn’t delay an immediate visit with a medical physician after a car accident. 

But what if you have already delayed your medical visit for a while and want to know, “When is it too late to go to the doctor after a car accident?”

Most often, injury insurance adjusting is done through a computer program that demands data related to the accident and injuries. 

One important aspect that increases your likelihood of getting fair compensation is whether you have sought medical assistance within a reasonable time frame.

For most insurance companies, the reasonable time frame is “anywhere between 72 hours and 14 days of the accident”. However, the actual time period varies depending on the state you live in. For instance, auto injury patients in Florida have 14 days after the car accident to report their injuries to a healthcare provider and if this date is missed the Florida car insurance can deny you car accident claim entirely. 

If you delay more than the set limit, it will reflect that you have avoided the injuries. 

If you avoid injuries, then it would be completely reasonable for the insurer to deny the coverage of medical expenditures. 

So it won’t just be a physical pain; you will also be taking a burden of hefty medical expenditures that you might not afford. Plus, most people also lose a good portion of their driving confidence after a car accident.

What If I Am Unable To Find My Primary Care Physicians Within A Reasonable Time?

In some cases, even if you manage to make a prompt medical visit, you might not find your primary care physician in the first three days of the accident. 

If you encounter any similar situation, do not wait for them to show up. Instead, try alternatives such as going to an urgent care clinic where you will immediately be treated. 

Doing so, you might find yourself paying more than your regular doctor, but you can get compensation for that bill. 

You can also visit a chiropractor within the first 72 hours, as it is considered the same as visiting a doctor for insurance purposes, however in Florida if you see a chiropractor first your PIP funds are limited to $2,500.  If you see a MD/DO first there is no such limit.  However a MD/DO can issue an EMC on behalf of the Florida car accident patient who is seeing a chiropractor which then takes the PIP funds to the $10,000 limit. 

What If I’m Too Late To See A Doctor After an Accident?

With all being said, an unfortunate car accident might not let you take prompt action.

You were having long and tiring shifts during the first three days of the accident?

You assumed the headache would go away, but it stayed for more than three days?

You thought you were fine, only to start having pain after three days of the accident?

Well! Your circumstances might restrict you from seeking immediate medical aid. But this does not mean delaying a doctor’s visit will make you undeserving of the compensation. 

So, face the problem and act promptly, at least now. If you missed that 14-day window contact a Florida attorney to determine if there is anything that can be done to help you access car accident insurance funds.

While the insurance adjuster will observe your case with much skepticism, it will still provide you with the evidence for your claim. 

Here, you need to focus on other evidentiary variables that may count in your favor. For instance:

  • The severity of your injury
  • Its presence in imaging tests
  • A solid reason for the delay

If you can prove the injury value and suffering while giving a solid reason for delay, you can get an average compensation.

That said, this requires a careful and balanced argument in the court from your side regarding your specific injury claim. 

So, the best time to see a doctor after a  car accident is as soon as possible, ideally within 1 to 2 days. 

If you did not consult the doctor about your medical situation after a car accident, we recommend doing it now. 

It is the best decision both for your health and compensation. 


Is a headache after a car accident normal?

Headache is one of the most common aftermaths of a car accident. 

Aside from post-traumatic headaches, there are plenty of other root causes of headaches arising from a car accident. 

So, a headache from a vehicular accident should never be ignored.

Why is pain delayed after a car accident?

In a car collision, some injuries may be on set long after the accident. 

These injuries with delayed symptoms include concussions and neck and back injuries.

How long does it take to recover from a serious car accident?

Recovery from a car accident depends on your injury and its severity. 

But generally, a car accident usually takes from a couple of weeks to a few months. 

However, you can boost the recovery time by seeking medical aid right away.