What Medical Tests Do You Need After an Accident?

What Medical Tests Do You Need After an Accident?After any accident or crash, the very first thing you should do (after calling the police, that is) is seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think you are injured, you should make an appointment with your doctor for a wellness check, so that there is a record of how your body responded to the collision. This medical record may play a pivotal role in your accident claim, so the sooner you undergo some basic medical tests, the better.

But which tests? That depends on the type of symptoms you have, and the potential injuries you could have. For example, if you are in a car accident and you think you feel mostly fine, then you should schedule a physical with your doctor. A thorough physical examination by a healthcare professional is typically one of the first steps after a truck accident. This may include assessing vital signs, checking for visible injuries, and evaluating the overall condition of the individual.

But if you are in a collision with a semi-truck, the chances are good your injuries will be far more severe. The same is true if you are in a rollover accident, or if you are hit head-on. In these circumstances, you may need tests such as:

  • X-rays: X-rays are commonly used to assess bone fractures and dislocations.
  • CT scans (Computed Tomography): A CT scan, per the Mayo Clinic, “combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body.”
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): MRIs are useful for evaluating soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests may be conducted to assess various factors, including blood cell count, clotting function, and organ function.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): An ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart and can be used to identify cardiac issues that may arise from the trauma of an accident.
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging may be used to examine internal organs. It is a non-invasive technique that uses sound waves to create images.
  • Neurological examinations: These assessments focus on evaluating the function of the nervous system, including reflexes, strength, and sensory abilities.
  • Pulmonary function tests: These tests assess lung function and may be conducted if there are concerns about chest injuries or respiratory issues.
  • Psychological evaluations: Besides physical injuries, accidents can have psychological impacts. Mental health professionals may conduct assessments to address trauma, anxiety, or other emotional issues.

What kinds of injuries are these tests diagnosing?

Vehicle accidents can lead to numerous injuries that range in severity based on factors like the speed of the collision, the size of the vehicles involved, the use of seat belts and other safety features, and the type of impact. The tests are looking for injuries that are not immediately apparent. You don’t need a test, for example, to diagnose a compound fracture, but not all injuries are that noticeable. Medical tests are used to diagnose:

  • Brain injuries: Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur when the head strikes an object or is subjected to violent motion during a crash.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries: The force of a collision can cause serious damage to the spine, resulting in injuries like herniated discs, spinal fractures, or paralysis.
  • Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma from a vehicle accident can lead to internal bleeding and severe damage to internal organs, including the liver, spleen, and kidneys. Punctured lungs are another serious risk.
  • Fractures and broken bones: The impact of a collision can cause fractures and breaks in the bones, particularly in the extremities, that may not break the skin. The ribs are especially susceptible.
  • Cardiac trauma: A powerful impact to the chest can cause blunt force trauma to the heart, triggering a heart attack. It can also cause physical damage.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Strains and sprains to the soft tissue in muscles, ligaments, and tendons are common in car and truck accidents but are sometimes hard to prove because they do not appear on x-rays. Sudden and forceful acceleration or deceleration, particularly in rear-end collisions, can cause the head and neck to jerk forward and backward, leading to a whiplash injury.
  • Internal burn injuries: It’s easy to see burn injuries on the skin, but inhaling burning ash or embers can cause damage to the throat or esophagus that is harder to detect. It can also cause damage to the lung tissue which can only be identified through testing.
  • Psychological injuries: Emotional trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, can result from the psychological impact of a dangerous accident.

Why are these tests so important?

When you sustain injuries in a San Antonio vehicle accident, you can seek compensation for your losses – and those losses include your medical expenses. However, if you accept a settlement offer without determining the true extent of your injuries, and then it turns out you need significantly more medical treatments, you will be on the hook for those costs. That is why we encourage our clients to undergo whatever tests their doctors prescribe. By identifying all of the trauma and injury, your doctors can better tailer a treatment plan – and your lawyer can better tailor a demand letter – to meet your needs

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident, you should speak with an experienced San Antonio injury attorney who will protect your rights and help you pursue compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. At Pat Maloney: Accident & Injury Attorney, our team advocates for injury victims who are facing significant financial burdens because of their medical treatments, lost wages, property damage, and other losses. We don’t believe that you should be forced to pay for injuries caused by another person’s negligence.  Please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.