Q. Should I Take an Ambulance to the Hospital From the Accident Scene?
A. Yes. You may have a life-threatening injury you don’t know about because after an accident adrenaline is running through your body, and you may be in shock. Taking an ambulance to the hospital can also benefit your personal injury case, but if you didn’t go to the hospital, it won’t hurt your accident case.
See more reasons below, why it’s better to take an ambulance to the hospital from the accident scene.
Q. What Should I Do if I Didn’t Go to the Hospital?
If you didn’t take an ambulance to the hospital or go to the hospital by car 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. If you didn’t go to the hospital, we still want to represent you for your personal injury case! See Nyda’s video below. Nyda didn’t take an ambulance to the hospital.
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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 or even a day or two after an accident.
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 serious injury and went home, but after the pain got worse, they went to the hospital and found out they had a broken bone.
If you have a broken bone or worse, 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, after you get home, when you realize your injury is much worse than you thought. But find out why a broken bone is often missed by hospital emergency room doctors.
Some of our clients who went home after an accident had to go to the hospital emergency room later after they had a lot of pain and then found out they needed immediate surgery.
You may have a concussion which is a serious injury. Motorcyclists frequently have a concussion and sometimes bleeding in the brain after a motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists should always take an ambulance to the hospital to get checked out.
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.
Should You Go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care After an Accident?
See when to go to the emergency room or urgent care.
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.
It simply means that it may take longer. We may have to start a lawsuit and wait until after your deposition and defense medical exams have concluded before we can get a reasonable settlement.
What if I Can’t Afford to Go to the Hospital if I’ve Been in a Bad Car Accident?
If you have a car accident in New York State, even if you live in another state, you have No-Fault insurance that pays for the following:
- 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 or if you have Medicaid. If you cannot physically go home without an ambulance, you will likely 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 a Hospital?
No. You are not required to go in an ambulance. If you decide to go in the ambulance it cannot take you to your home and must take you to a hospital.
Will an Ambulance Take You to Any Hospital of Your Choice?
You can’t choose which hospital an ambulance takes you to from an accident, but you can request an ambulance to take you to a specific hospital where you want to go.
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 of your choice.
If you call an ambulance from home and call a private ambulance, you can choose which hospital an ambulance takes you to. In fact, you can have a private ambulance take you anywhere in the country.
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.
List of Hospitals in New York City, Long Island, & Westchester
See the list of all New York City, Long Island & Westchester Hospitals with addresses and phone numbers.
Phil Franckel is well-known in New York and has been a personal injury lawyer since 1989. He is a Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911, LLP®, the Personal Injury Dream Team™, and a former Member Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has an Avvo Top 10 Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor Award, Multi-Million Dollar Trial Lawyers Award, and others. See Mr. Franckel’s bio for areas of expertise.
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