If you are injured by another driver’s negligence in a traffic crash in Maryland or the District of Columbia, you are entitled to reimbursement for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. You will need to discuss your case at once with a Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer.

If you are injured by negligence in any other accident scenario, or injured at work, you should schedule a consultation as quickly as possible to discuss your legal rights and options with a Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney.

But what if you walk away from a traffic crash – or any other accident – and you don’t feel injured? You should go ahead and obtain a medical exam, within 24 hours if possible. If you keep reading, you will learn why an immediate medical examination is so important.

The Two Reasons You Must Be Examined After an Accident

A medical exam is essential after a traffic crash, a sports accident, a serious fall, a blow to the head, or a dog bite. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Even if you feel perfectly healthy, have a medical examination at once, because you may have suffered a latent or difficult-to-detect injury.

Certain brain injuries and internal injuries, in particular, can remain latent or difficult-to-detect for weeks. That’s the first reason why a medical exam is essential after an accident – to protect your health. The second reason why a medical exam is essential is to protect yourself legally.

If you suffer an injury in an accident, and you do not have a medical exam, you’ll have no proof that you were injured in that particular accident, and the negligent party or that party’s insurance company may claim that you were actually injured in another way, at another time and place.

What Can Happen if You Delay a Medical Exam?

Not seeking medical attention immediately after an accident could seriously damage your credibility if – later – you need to pursue a personal injury claim. If you wait – or if you entirely avoid a medical exam – you won’t be prepared if you eventually need to recover compensation.

If you wait to be examined until a latent or difficult-to-detect injury emerges as a serious medical condition, your health could be seriously endangered, and by that time, there may not be any way to link your injury directly to a specific accident.

It is also vital to have the right kind of medical help – as swiftly as possible – after an accident. If you can, have your medical examination conducted by a medical doctor, because a medical doctor’s authority carries more weight with insurance companies, judges, and juries.

What Steps Should You Take After Your Medical Examination?

If you’ve been injured because someone else was negligent, and especially if your medical exam indicates that you have sustained a latent or difficult-to-detect injury, contact a Maryland or Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible after you have the exam results.

Your attorney will investigate the accident, determine how you were injured, identify the party or parties that have liability, and negotiate with those parties (or with their lawyers and insurance companies) for the maximum compensation to which you are entitled under the law.

How Are Personal Injury Claims Resolved?

Most personal injury claims in Maryland and the District of Columbia are settled privately, in out-of-court negotiations. However, if liability for your injury is disputed, or if no acceptable settlement offer is forthcoming in the private negotiations, your attorney will take your claim to trial.

At a personal injury trial, your attorney will explain to a judge or jury how you were injured and the extent of your injuries. Your personal injury attorney will then ask that judge or jury to order the payment of your compensation.

When Should You Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Just as you must not procrastinate about seeking a medical exam after an accident, you also must not procrastinate about scheduling a consultation with a Maryland or Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney. If you’re injured, make an appointment with an attorney immediately after your medical exam.

In both Maryland and the District of Columbia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims – that is, the deadline for taking legal action – is in most cases three years from the date of your injury.

However, if you’ve missed that deadline, the law allows for some very limited exceptions to the three-year rule, so you should go ahead and discuss your case with an attorney. But if you’ve been injured recently by another person’s negligence, arrange to speak with an attorney at once.

In a best-case scenario, your attorney needs to examine the evidence in your case before that evidence deteriorates or disappears, and your attorney needs to speak with the witnesses before their recollections begin to fade. In other words, you should hire an attorney on the case at once.

What Will It Cost to Win Justice?

It costs nothing to launch the personal injury process. If you have been injured because someone else was negligent, your first consultation with a personal injury lawyer is provided with no cost or obligation.

That free case evaluation is your opportunity to learn more about how the law applies to your own case and to receive the sound, personalized legal advice that every injured victim of negligence needs.

If you move forward with legal action, you’ll pay no attorney’s fee upfront, and you will pay no attorney’s fee until and unless your attorney recovers your compensation. If for any reason you are not compensated at the end of the process, you will not owe any attorney’s fee.

If you are injured because someone else was negligent – in a traffic collision or in any other accident scenario – protect your rights, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can, and put the law to work for you.