Q. Should I Take an Ambulance to the Hospital From the Accident Scene?
A. Yes. If you take an ambulance to the hospital it can benefit your accident case and benefit you medically but if you didn’t go to the hospital, it won’t necessarily hurt your case. For the reasons below, it’s better to take an ambulance to the hospital from the accident scene.
If you were seriously injured, it likely won’t matter for a personal injury case if you go to the hospital at the time of the accident but you will likely end up going anyway when you realize your injury is much worse than you thought.
If you didn’t go to the hospital, you can still have a personal injury case and we still want to represent you.
Q. What Should I Do if I Didn’t Go to the Hospital?
If you didn’t go to the hospital from the accident scene and, after getting home, you find you are injured or in pain, go to the ER or local urgent care or see a doctor immediately.
By getting medical care immediately, you are documenting the injury and your pain which may be important for your medical treatment and your personal injury case.
Call a personal injury lawyer immediately.
Why Taking an Ambulance to the Hospital Benefits You
You Don’t Know If You’re Injured Yet
You may have injuries and even broken bones that you’re not aware of at the time of the accident. It is very common that serious injuries become obvious an hour or two later or even a day or two later.
At the time of an injury, the trauma overwhelms your brain and you may not feel any pain yet. We have had many clients who didn’t know at the time of the accident that they had a broken bone but found out later at the hospital that they did. Some of our clients even found out that they needed surgery.
Soft tissue injuries such as neck and back injuries are caused by swelling produced by the accident trauma. The swelling occurs over the first 48 hours after an accident, so you may not realize that you have a serious neck or back injury at the time of the accident.
You may not experience any neck or back pain or experience only mild pain at the accident scene but hours later it will get worse and by the next morning, you may experience extreme pain.
Soft tissue injuries such as a torn ligament may not begin to cause pain until a couple of hours later or even days later. Many clients complained of the pain at the hospital and thought they had a sprain but found out weeks later when an MRI was taken that they had a torn ligament requiring surgery.
The hospital will examine you and likely find injuries you didn’t realize you had when you were at the accident scene. You will be at the hospital a couple of hours after the accident when the pain may begin.
The doctors at the hospital can provide you with a prescription for an anti-inflammatory stronger than Ibuprofen which can reduce future injury.
It’s Good for Your Case Because Hospital Records Document Your Injuries
Your complaints of pain will be documented in your medical records by doctors at the hospital. If you complain of back pain, knee pain, and ankle pain, all of these complaints will be written in your medical record.
Because your medical record is evidence that can be used at trial, the insurance company will see that as a problem for them and it will be easier to settle your case.
Insurance company claims representatives think if you don’t take an ambulance to the hospital, your injury wasn’t serious or your injury occurred later from some other accident.
Documenting complaints of pain in your hospital record will be a big help to settle your case at a fair value.
Other Benefits of Going to the Hospital by Ambulance
If you go by ambulance, you’ll go right in but if you go by car, you can sit in the Emergency Room waiting area all day.
Often, people don’t realize how serious their injuries are until a couple of hours later. Then they go to the hospital later that day or the next day. That’s when you’ll sit there all day.
If you didn’t take an ambulance to the hospital and you’re reading this after your accident, it’s still worth going to the hospital to create a record.
Don’t Worry if You Didn’t Go to the Hospital
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible, whether or not you went to the hospital. If you didn’t go to the hospital, it may be more difficult to settle your case for fair value but that doesn’t mean we can’t settle your case for fair value.
What if I Can’t Afford to Go to the Hospital if I’ve Been in a Bad Car Accident?
- Radiology and testing
- Prescription drugs
- Physical therapy
- Home assistance
- Lost wages
If you don’t live in a No-Fault State and your car accident wasn’t in a No-Fault State, your health insurance will pay for your hospital bills. Your state should have very cheap health insurance if you cannot afford it. If you’re even poorer, you are entitled to Medicaid. In New York, Medicaid will pay 90 days retroactively so you can go on Medicaid after an accident. The hospital will help you get on Medicaid.
See more options if you can’t afford medical treatment and how to get inexpensive drugs, medical treatment, & hospital treatment.
Can an Ambulance Take You Home From the Hospital?
An ambulance will usually not take you home unless you pay for it. If you are unable to physically go home without an ambulance, you need to be admitted to the hospital overnight.
If you are able to physically go home without an ambulance but don’t have a way to get home, you can call a taxi, Uber, or Lyft. If you were injured in a car accident in New York, No-Fault insurance will pay for your transportation.
Does an Ambulance Have to Take You to Hospital?
No. You are not required to go in an ambulance.
Will Ambulance Take Me to My Hospital of My Choice?
You can request the ambulance to take you to the hospital you want to go to. If the hospital is within the distance allowed and there is no medical reason to take you to another hospital, the ambulance will usually take you to the hospital you want to go to.
Can an Ambulance Take You to a Private Hospital?
Usually, yes. If the hospital is within the distance allowed and there is no medical reason to take you to another hospital, the ambulance can usually take you to a private hospital. FDNY in New York City will usually take you to a city hospital but you can ask to go to a private hospital.
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Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.