The moments after a car accident are frightening. The combination of confusion, disorientation, frustration, fear and adrenaline are a unique experience that no one wants to endure. There are several actions you should take at the scene of an accident, but a critical action to take afterword is to see a doctor.

You should do this regardless of whether you think you’re hurt or not. The last thing you want is to find out that you’ve had a broken rib or fractured wrist 4 hours later when your adrenaline wears off. Seeing a doctor is not only good for your wellbeing, but medical records can have major effects on reimbursement you may receive should you file a personal injury case.

Seeking medical attention

There are a host of symptoms that can take hours or even days to surface after a car accident. You might feel fine, then wake up with sudden pain, numbness in your extremities, dizziness, disorientation or worse.

If you did not see the doctor, not only have you missed out on time that could have been spent recovering, it also becomes more difficult to prove that your symptoms are due to the accident.

You cant be too thorough

Take notes on everything that happens at the doctor’s office. You will want a record of the doctor you see, specialist they recommend, injuries they suspect, expected length of recovery; anything that will have an impact on your daily life or finances.

You will also want to keep all your receipts, bills, emails, and travel expenses (including small things like gasoline and oil changes). If you begin to feel effects of the accident days after the fact, keep a journal of the date and time you experienced them, how severe they are and how long they last. It is virtually impossible to take too many notes.

Speaking with a personal injury attorney

A personal injury attorney is a key ally when you’re seeking reimbursement after an accident. Insurance companies are usually receptive to paying you damages, but will often try to pay as small of a settlement to you as possible.

Experienced personal injury attorneys specialize in dealing with large insurance companies. They are adept at using the evidence available and leveraging the law in your favor to get you the best results possible. And, when necessary, will fight for you in court for a better settlement.

The minutes and hours after a car accident are intense. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, go to the doctor as soon as possible. Record everything you can, and hold onto every bill, receipt and email that crosses your possession. Odds are they will only help your case should you decide to litigate.