The coronavirus crisis has put many routine activities on hold, but people are still driving, and most injuries don’t just resolve overnight, even during a pandemic. Unfortunately, car accident victims are now facing a critical and challenging question: “Should I go to the doctor after a crash during the coronavirus outbreak?”
In this blog, our injury attorneys will discuss:
- When you should seek medical treatment after a car or truck accident
- How to deal with minor pain and injuries from the safety of home
- How to protect yourself from COVID-19 if you need to visit a doctor, hospital, or pharmacy
Lastly, we will outline your legal options if you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence during this difficult time.
When Should I Get Accident-Related Treatment During the Coronavirus Lockdown?
Most people who aren’t experiencing or exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus are hesitant to seek medical attention, even those who have been injured and are experiencing significant pain or complications — and with good reason.
Hospitals and medical clinics have become virus hotspots, so people are worried about either contracting or potentially spreading the virus by visiting these establishments. Besides, many of us don’t want to burden medical professionals or drain valuable resources with what we deem to be minor injuries or illnesses in comparison to COVID-19.
But sometimes there’s just no avoiding an appointment with a healthcare professional. If you have suffered an injury or illness that you believe requires professional medical attention, here are your best options.
Catastrophic Injuries Always Need Immediate Medical Care
Many car accident survivors need immediate medical attention, even during the coronavirus lockdown. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries, report them to the 911 dispatcher and ask for an ambulance. You should go to a hospital or clinic right away if you have any of these symptoms or conditions:
- Loss of consciousness
- Head and facial injuries
- Broken bones, including teeth
- Inability to move a limb or body part
- Large cuts or burns, especially when you can see muscle or bone
- Chemical burns
- Deep bruises on your torso, which may be a sign of internal bleeding and organ damage
- Excruciating “10 out 10” pain
When in doubt, call an ambulance. You can rest assured that our EMTs and medical workers are taking every precaution to keep you safe.
Virtual Medical Visits During Coronavirus
Sometimes, you may walk away from a car crash with what seems like minor aches and pains. While you may not need emergency medical care, you still need to get checked out by a doctor. Thankfully, many doctors’ offices are offering remote telehealth appointments where you can see a doctor from the safety of home. Typically, you will use your phone, tablet, or computer to show the doctor your injuries. Based on your video examination, the doctor can prescribe medications, give you work restrictions, and suggest follow-up care.
However, doctors cannot always prescribe certain drugs, like opioid pain medications, through a telehealth visit. In these cases, or when you need more intensive care, your doctor will schedule an in-person appointment.
Self-Treating During Coronavirus
You can self-treat very minor injuries from the comfort and safety of your home. To help flatten the curve of the coronavirus, you should consider using at-home first aid to treat the following “bumps and bruises.”
- Small cuts and scrapes: Some minor cuts and abrasions don’t need stitches and can heal on their own. You can use a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding. Then, wash the wound with soap and water. You should also put antibiotic ointment on the affected area and cover it with a bandage or gauze. Continue to clean the laceration or abrasion for ten days and change the bandage at least every other day.
Keep an eye on the cuts and contact your doctor if you notice redness, swelling, or red streaks around the wound, since they could be signs of an infection.
- Burns: Again, minor first-degree burns don’t usually require a visit to the ER. If you burn yourself, gently wash the affected area with soap and cold water. Then continue to soak the burn in cold water or treat it with an ice pack for 20 minutes to prevent tissue damage and reduce pain and swelling.
Once the pain calms down, apply an antibiotic cream, and gently cover the wound with a bandage. Continue to wash the burn daily and apply a fresh bandage until the scab has healed and any swelling has improved.
If the burn is on your face or near a joint, contact a medical professional right away. If the burn is larger than 3 inches in diameter or the injured person is elderly or a toddler, or if you notice signs of infection, you should also visit a medical professional immediately.
- Sprains and strains: Individuals who have suffered whiplash or a sprained or strained joint should follow the RICE protocol:
- Rest: Avoid placing your body weight on the affected area
- Ice: Place a bag of frozen vegetables on the affected area
- Compression: Wrap the injured area tightly with a bandage
- Elevation: Raise the affected area above your heart when sleeping to reduce swelling
If your pain worsens or you cannot use the joint, schedule a telehealth visit. In many cases, the doctor can guide you through a self-test to determine if you have suffered a fracture or another serious injury.
Consider Your Circumstances Before Visiting a Hospital
If your illness or injuries are truly an emergency, you should visit a hospital or medical clinic immediately. If your symptoms are relatively mild but still serious, you should consider the following before visiting a hospital.
- Do you live in a coronavirus hotspot? Coronavirus is not as common in some parts of Alabama and Mississippi. Check your community’s number of confirmed cases on either Alabama Public Health or the Mississippi State Department of Health website. If your injuries seem relatively minor and you live in a hotspot, consider scheduling a telehealth visit.
- Can you receive advice over the phone? In many cases, you can call your local medical center to describe your symptoms and get advice on whether or not to visit the facility in-person. If nothing else, the receptionist should be able to help you schedule a telemedicine conference.
Tips for Staying Safe and Healthy During Coronavirus
By now, most of us know the basics of avoiding coronavirus infection and preventing the spread of the disease. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Wear a mask and gloves when out in public. Keep a safe distance of six feet between yourself and others. Avoid touching your face and public surfaces. If you must touch a surface, disinfect it with alcohol wipes.
Unfortunately, injuries and illnesses will continue — often as a result of another person or party’s negligence. If you or a loved one are suffering due through no fault of your own, you should contact a personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.
Get the Compensation You Deserve, Even During Coronavirus
Even though some of Alabama and Mississippi’s courts are closed or limiting jury trials, that doesn’t mean you should hold off on consulting with a personal injury lawyer. You only have a limited amount of time to file your accident claim, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get fair compensation.
Medical records are essential to a car accident case, since they help your lawyer link your injuries to a crash and calculate your damages. Our law firm continues to work tirelessly on behalf of our clients, meeting with them by phone and video conferencing, negotiating fair settlements, and aggressively preparing their cases for trial.
This pandemic will end. In the meantime, we’re well equipped to keep fighting for accident victims throughout Alabama and Mississippi.
Contact Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys for Help With Your Crash Claim
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we have the skill and experience to support you throughout the legal process during this challenging time. We understand the importance of social distancing and are uniquely positioned to handle the bulk of your legal representation from the safety of home.
If you’ve been injured as the result of another party’s negligence and are feeling frustrated by your inability to pursue legal action during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact us today to schedule your free remote consultation. During our call, we will learn about the circumstances of your injury and offer sound recommendations on next steps and the potential for compensation.
Levine, H. (2020, April 9). How to handle minor injuries during the coronavirus pandemic. Consumer Reports. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/first-aid/how-to-handle-minor-injuries-during-coronavirus-pandemic/
What if you have a medical issue that’s not coronavirus? (2020). WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/lung/doctor-hospital-visits-not-coronavirus#1
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.