Is Going to Urgent Care After a Car Accident a Good Idea?

Published on February 6, 2024, by Forbes Law | Car Accidents

Is Going to the Urgent Care After a Car Accident a Good Idea?

It is normal to feel confused after a car accident in West Virginia. Many accident victims wonder if they should seek treatment if they have minor injuries or no apparent injuries. Whether there are visible injuries or not, it is vital to seek prompt medical care. Some internal injuries do not create immediate symptoms and worsen over time. Also, the adrenaline released during and after the accident may mask the pain from non-visible injuries. When it comes to seeking medical care, people often wonder if they need to visit an urgent care facility or a hospital emergency room. The answer depends on a few factors:

Level of Care

A hospital emergency room offers access to more equipment and supplies. An urgent care facility typically has supplies for non-serious injuries and does not have as much equipment. For example, some urgent care facilities may only have an X-ray machine. Hospitals also staff surgeons who can perform emergency operations for severe injuries. Urgent care facilities usually staff a few doctors and more physician assistants or nurse practitioners.

As a rule, emergency treatment is vital for severe and life-threatening injuries. Urgent care treatment is better for minor injuries or when there are no apparent injuries. For example, someone who has a few shallow cuts and scrapes may go to an urgent care facility. However, someone with a deep gash that is bleeding uncontrollably needs to go to an emergency room.

Major broken bones, severe burns, serious spinal injuries and head injuries should always be treated in a hospital emergency department. Urgent care facilities can often treat whiplash.

Waiting Times

One good reason to go to an urgent care facility for non-serious injuries is a shorter waiting time. Many urgent care patients wait less than an hour to receive care. However, emergency room waiting times can vary.

Medical staff in emergency departments prioritize people with the most serious conditions. For example, imagine that a person who was in a minor accident goes to a hospital with suspected whiplash and no other apparent injuries. Patients with chest pain, severe abdominal pain, visible injuries and some other conditions would be seen first. In that case, the emergency room wait may take several hours if the facility is in a larger city. However, some hospital emergency departments in smaller towns may not have long waiting times.

Remember that all serious car accident injuries should still be treated in an emergency room. A person who visits an urgent care facility for serious injuries will be sent to an emergency room.


Emergency room visits often cost more than $1,000. They can cost much more if there are serious injuries that require multiple tests and treatments. Urgent care is a more cost-effective option for non-serious injuries. For example, the cost to receive five stitches in an urgent care facility is typically much less than $1,000. The same care in an emergency room may include a special charge for emergency care, the cost of supplies, the cost of time and more. As a result, a patient may pay thousands of dollars for stitches in an emergency room.

It helps to understand health insurance benefits as well. For instance, some insurance plans have the same copay amounts for emergency room care and urgent care. However, many plans require members to pay a certain percentage of the total cost of the visit. Although an emergency room is more expensive, it is still vital to go to one for any serious or life-threatening injuries. Foregoing medical care can be a costly mistake with negative future repercussions.

The good news for car accident victims is that they may be able to recover some medical expenses. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, the victim has the right to sue for damages. Providing proof of injuries is important in any case, which is why it is vital to seek medical care immediately after an accident. Doing so also provides valuable documentation for insurance purposes. Filing a personal injury claim is easier with the help of a car accident lawyer. Please contact Forbes Law Offices to learn more about car accident injury claims in West Virginia and if you may have a potential claim.