Whether you have been in a car crash, have taken a fall on a poorly-maintained sidewalk or were harmed by a faulty product, you may not know what to do next. Reporting your accident to authorities is critical, but it is also essential to have your injuries examined by a medical professional. Why is this so important?

Not all injuries have immediate symptoms.

Many injuries appear very soon after an accident, but others can take time to appear. For example, the symptoms of whiplash—a common injury after rear-end collisions—can take hours, days or even weeks to present themselves. Seeking medical treatment after an accident could help you recognize the early symptoms of your injuries help prevent further issues.

Injuries could worsen or heal improperly if they are left untreated.

For many people, the cost of healthcare can be daunting. However, trying to ignore your injuries doesn’t always mean that they will go away. You might find that these injuries grow worse over time, leading to extended recovery periods and many other issues.

For example, what seems to be soreness in your hands after a car accident could actually be small fractures. After the initial swelling decreases, you may find that the pain increases or that your fingers healed in an incorrect position. These issues may require additional medical treatment or even surgery to heal correctly.

Documenting your injuries can be essential if you take legal action.

If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, your legal claim against them would rely on showing how their actions harmed you. The sooner you seek medical treatment, the easier it is to show the connection between the accident was the cause of your injuries. This documentation can help your lawyer fight to get you the financial compensation you need to recover.