Hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle accidents occur every single year in the United States. They involve SUV, semi-trucks, motorcycles—you name it.

Many result in catastrophic injuries. Drivers and passengers involved in serious accidents are immediately taken to the hospital via an ambulance where they receive appropriate medical treatment. However, not all accidents are severe. Some are minor fender benders or parking lot collisions.

But those injured in ANY type of car accident should always see a doctor. Here are two reasons why.

1. Symptoms may not manifest for a while

From 5-year-old passengers to elderly drivers—everyone involved in an auto accident is likely to experience some degree of anxiety, shock or fear.

Such symptoms can and do tend to mask real pain or injuries. Many involved in minor car accidents walk away seemingly fine and grateful that they were not seriously injured.

However, all too often, they are. Serious injuries can manifest days, weeks or even months after the initial incident when the shock has worn off. In some cases, the failure to get treatment right away, results in more serious injury.

2. You could be barred from recovering compensation

In the state of North Carolina, individuals injured in auto accidents from at-fault drivers can file suit, if necessary, to recover compensation.

However, both sides will investigate the accident and ascertain injuries and compensation. If evidence shows that the plaintiff failed to get medical treatment immediately after the auto accident, he or she may be barred from recovering compensation, such as pain and suffering, at a later date.