If you were taken to the emergency room immediately after a car accident, or took yourself later, they probably released you after checking out to make sure you are okay.
It is perfectly normal for the emergency room doctors to release you after examining you. Unless you are seriously injured, the doctors will want to clear you of medical condition that requires immediate treatment.
So you will probably be subject to a few tests. They may test your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital measurements. If you complain of headaches, the doctors might even run a CT Scan (Computed Tomography) of your head. This is an x-ray scan that can detect things such as bone trauma, or tissue death (infarction).
The hospital might run x-rays along your back to be sure there were no fractures to any of your bones.
After they have cleared you of all medical emergencies, at that point they will probably release you. You have to keep in mind, the emergency room is reserved strictly for emergencies. If they release you, it doesn’t mean you were not injured. It just means your injuries do not require emergency treatment.
So you will be advised to see your regular doctor after that. You may be prescribed pain relievers and occasionally muscle relaxers.
After you are released from the hospital, you should keep an eye on your condition. It sometimes takes days, or even a week or two, to really feel the pain from injuries caused in an accident. So it might be a few days before you’re back at the doctors again. At that point, a visit to your family doctor or a chiropractor is suggested. A physical therapist might be required. If your injuries worsen or don’t get any better, then specialists may be called in.
So, even if you are cleared from the emergency room immediately after the accident, you still have a case. In fact, your case can actually be quite serious if conventional, conservative treatment doesn’t fully treat your injuries.