What to Do After an Auto Collision—After the Hospital

by Leslie Bauer and Joe Lusk on July 19, 2012

After discharge from the hospital, it is essential to follow the discharge instructions.  These will include a referral to a provider for after-care and follow up, information on any prescription medications, and strict return precautions.  Following up with the referral provider on or before the scheduled or suggested date is key for documentation of injuries suffered.  The provider will document any further complications, need for additional testing, and possible referral to a specialist.  Any delay in follow up or diversion from your discharge instructions may weaken your case.

Take medications as prescribed, and follow up with the provider with any questions or experiences with allergic or adverse reactions.  Keep all prescription bottles so that they can be used as exhibits at trial.  Pain, soreness, and stiffness experienced will worsen during the days after the accident.

If new complaints arise after discharge, contact the provider as soon as possible for these to be documented and treated. If urgent medical help is necessary or you are unable to follow up with the referral provider due to medical insurance complications, attempt to return to the same medical facility that initial evaluation and treatment occurred.  This is important, as previous health records and test results are available to the facility’s provider, and aids in continuity of care and documentation.

It is important to keep a daily journal of any and all pain, emotional distress, and difficulty in performing daily tasks.  Log extra expenses incurred as a result of the accident, as well as lost wages due to any work-related time off.

Joe Lusk is the immediate past chair of the Solo and Small Firm section of the Colorado Bar Association, and is an attorney with Boatright & Ripp, LLC in Wheat Ridge, Colo., where his practice includes personal injury and criminal defense. Leslie Bauer owns Aspen Legal Nurse Consultants in Denver, and is a board certified Adult Nurse Practitioner. She currently works as registered nurse in the emergency department at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge.

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