I've been representing injured people for some 15 years and if anything drives me nuts it is when someone blows off going to the hospital after an accident. This frustration was driven home last week when I read about the death of Francisco Moreno. After he was struck by a van while riding his bicycle a trip to the hospital was delayed until he lost consciousness at home many hours after the incident. One has to wonder if he would be live today if he had been taken to the hospital right after the crash.
Let me be succinct, if your are involved in a bicycle crash and some part of your body hurts, go to the damn hospital. The seriousness of your injuries may not be immediately apparent. After a crash your adrenaline may be flowing. You may not be thinking straight, so just play it safe a get to the ER. This is especially true if you even lightly hit your head, with or without a helmet. If it turns out that you are fine, good. Don't worry about wasting your time or anyone else's time. Don't feel embarrassed. Just do what has to be done to rule out a serious injury.
Aside from protecting your own health, seeking immediate medical care following a crash will help you or your attorney later if a claim or lawsuit arises from the incident. Time and again I see insurance companies fail to take seriously a claim brought where the injured bicyclist did not seek treatment right away following a crash. Their thinking is, how serious could the injury be if he/she didn't go to the hospital. Insurance adjusters tend to be cynical people. Delayed medical treatment tends to raise a red flag in the adjuster's mind: Maybe we're being scammed. Maybe the injury happened after the bike accident. Don't give an insurance company any reason to be doubtful about your claim and the cause of your injuries. Seek immediate medical treatment.
There are all sorts of reasons, in my experience, to explain why the bicyclist blows off a trip to the hospital after a crash. Lack of medical insurance coverage is one big reason. All I can say is cost is just something you'll have to worry about later. Take care of yourself first. A hospital ER will not turn you away for lack of insurance. Also, most hospitals will work with you on a sensible payment plan if you cannot afford to pay the bill. If you have a claim against an at fault driver, the hospital will lien your claim and your lawyer will help you make sure your bill is paid at the end of your case. Whatever concerns or fears you might have about going to the hospital after a crash, remember Francisco Moreno.