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What Should You Do if You or a Loved One Is in the Hospital After a Car Accident?

Hospitals are vulnerable places. You are generally cut off from the outside world and dependent on others for your most basic needs. Many people who find themselves in the hospital can feel disoriented, isolated, lonely, and depressed. It is vital to remember, however, that it is a time of recovery, and your healthcare providers are focused on getting you home as quickly as possible. 

If you or a loved one are in the hospital following a car accident, the challenges may seem even greater. However, there are things you can do while you are in the hospital to protect your rights. If you or a loved one is in the hospital, do not hesitate to reach out to a car accident attorney who knows what steps to take if you need to pursue a claim. 

Be an Advocate

Whether it is for yourself or a loved one, do not hesitate to advocate for what you or your loved one needs. Hospitals are busy, nurses are overworked, and doctors sometimes are not able to give the attention you may need. Do not be afraid to speak up if you or your loved one are in pain, are uncomfortable, or reacting poorly to medication. 

If you are the one in the hospital, your ability to advocate for yourself may be limited. Ask a friend or loved one to visit you often and be present for meetings with the doctors. You may not be able to focus on or understand important details related to your treatment or recovery. If someone else is present, they can help fill in the gaps for you so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment going forward. 

Similarly, do your best to be available to your loved one if they are the one in the hospital. Be present during important conversations, ask questions, and do your best to understand their options. This way you can advocate for them when they are unable to. 

Record Your Recollection of the Accident

If you are in the hospital, chances are that your recollection of precisely what happened in the accident is somewhat hazy. This is normal, so do not be discouraged. Give it some careful thought, and write down or otherwise record whatever you can remember about the moments before and the time after your accident. The longer you wait to record your thoughts, the more hazy your recollection may become. 

If your loved one is in the hospital, you can offer to help them recall the accident when they are able. Ask questions to fully develop their recollection of the accident, but let them take their time telling you what they remember. Take notes concerning what they said or record the conversation on your phone. 

Get Copies of The Medical Bills and Records

Whether it’s you or your loved one, you should do your best to get copies of whatever medical bills and records are generated during your hospital stay. These documents will be critical if you or your loved one needs to pursue a claim later on. You will need your medical bills and records to prove your case, and getting them before you leave the hospital (if possible) will save you valuable time and effort in the future.  

Follow Your Recommended Treatment

Sometimes, one of the most difficult parts of being injured is following your doctor’s orders. This may be easier when you are in the hospital, but make use of the help you have available while you are there. If the doctor does not want you to get out of bed unassisted, get help before going to the bathroom or getting around your room. Do not push to get discharged earlier than your doctor has recommended. Accept the care that your doctor recommends. 

And when it is time to leave, you or your loved one should continue to follow the recommended course of treatment. This could entail staying in bed, staying home from work, not lifting heavy objects, or not engaging in strenuous activities. 

Refusing to follow the recommended treatment could result in additional injuries or prevent the original injury from healing. In addition, failure to follow your recommended treatment could jeopardize your case if you later need to pursue a claim. As difficult as it may be for you or your loved one, follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. 

Document Your Pain and Suffering

If you or your loved one does need to pursue legal action, it is important to understand that you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering in addition to your medical expenses, lost income, and other financial losses. Ways that you can do this include the following: 

  • Keep a journal documenting how your injuries limit your mobility or ability to carry out everyday tasks
  • Document sleep disturbances, episodes of incontinence, and similar issues
  • Detail any feelings of depression or anxiety
  • Document the physical pain that you feel on a daily basis on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the worst

If your loved one is in the hospital, record the changes you have seen in their physical and emotional bearing as a result of their accident. Help them keep a journal documenting the details discussed above. 

Contact Martin & Jones if You Are in the Hospital Due to Someone Else’s Negligence

If you or a loved one has been hospitalized due to a serious injury, it is never too early to contact a lawyer for help. With decades of experience behind us, we can assess your case, provide an estimate of what your claim may be worth, and help you find a way forward. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case and what we can do to help by calling 800-662-1234.

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The law firm you choose makes a difference. If you are the victim of an accident or an illness that someone else caused, the North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has the depth of experience, skills and sensitivity to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Whether you have experience with the legal system or have never hired a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer before, our attorneys and staff will do our best to answer your questions, provide clear advice and prepare you and your family for what to expect. If you would like more information or to meet with one of our attorneys, please fill out the form below or call us at 800.662.1234.