Most of us have slipped and fallen on ice before. I certainly have–multiple times. Before becoming a lawyer, I did not seek medical attention after slipping and falling on ice. But should you seek medical treatment after slipping and falling on ice?
For many people, slipping and falling on ice results in serious injuries that are immediately obvious. These injuries will typically lead the injured man or woman to call 9-1-1 or drive themselves immediately to a hospital emergency room.
Meanwhile, other people suffer injuries whose seriousness is not immediately obvious. They have to wrestle with the common tendency to take a wait-and-see approach. In the wait-and-see approach, we say to ourselves: “let me see if this pain heals on its own.”
We might prefer the wait-and-see approach because going to the doctor feels like an inconvenience, or because we don’t have health insurance, or because we’ve had a bad experience with doctors in the past, or for some other reasons.
But is it wise to take the wait-and-see approach?
Sometimes someone who has slipped and fallen on ice has suffered serious injuries that just are not immediately apparent. While they may experience severe pain and they may initially wait to see if the pain goes away on its own, it may not be wise for them to take the wait-and-see approach for a long time.
Some doctors advise that it’s good to get medical attention if you’re experiencing severe pain more than 24 hours after the slip and fall. Among other things, a doctor you see can order and review an x-ray (or other imaging studies) to diagnose how serious your injury is.
From the perspective of a legal claim you might have against a business, residential property owner, or government who failed to maintain safe walking areas, it is wise to see a doctor soon after your slip and fall.
After all, getting immediate medical treatment after your fall helps you establish the relationship between the fall and your injuries. Getting immediate medical treatment (and getting follow-up care) also empowers you to show the full nature of your injuries, so that you can receive fair compensation.