One of many side effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic is that people are foregoing medical care they would otherwise seek out for fear of contracting the virus. While it may be advisable to postpone elective and aesthetic procedures, treatment for traumatic and soft tissue injuries following a car crash do not fall into this category and delaying or foregoing treatment after a crash may be to the detriment of your health and of the value of your claim.
Nearly every choice in life involves some level of risk and benefit. We go about our day making decisions after weighing the risk and benefit, often without even realizing we have done it. In the age of COVID-19, many of us find ourselves weighing the risk and benefit of going out in public. Many of us have modified the way we conduct necessary errands to reduce our risk of getting sick, like shopping for groceries online and picking up our grocery order in the parking lot instead of shopping inside with other customers.
The CDC reminds us that “it is important to continue taking care of [our] health and wellness” during this time and advises us NOT to delay “getting emergency care for any condition that requires immediate attention.” However, we cannot ignore that the world is different from what it was this time last year and like everyone else, folks who have been hurt in car crashes must weigh the risks and benefits when deciding whether and what care to seek after an accident.
First and foremost, if you require emergency medical attention and life or limb is at risk, you must go to an emergency room, by ambulance if possible, and of course, take precautions as you are able. But what if you have a traumatic injury that does not require Emergency Room level service? Receiving a prompt and full evaluation after being injured in a crash can benefit both your long-term health as well as your Personal Injury claim value. The good news is that there are ways to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 when seeking medical attention after a crash.
There are several clinics in town that may offer evaluation and treatment of traumatic injuries and DO NOT offer treatment or evaluation of COVID-19 positive (or suspected positive) patients. For example, Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group has an Express Bone & Joint Injury Care Center available to evaluate and treat bone fractures, muscle strains, and joint pain without an appointment. Identify a few clinics such as this and inquire directly with the provider about their COVID-19 precautions so that you can assess the exposure risk for yourself.
While at the appointment, it is a good idea to inquire with the doctor about treatment recommendations and diagnostic testing available to you and the risk of foregoing or delaying such procedures so that you can make an informed decision about your own health in consultation with your doctor. What the doctor can’t tell you, however, are the implications these decisions could have on your Personal Injury claim: this portion of your decision-making process should be informed after consultation with a lawyer who regularly handles these types of cases.