On average, six million car accidents happen every year in the US. From these accidents, three million people sustain injuries and 38,000 die. If you got out of an accident unscathed, perhaps you’re not out of the woods just yet.
For most people, what follows after an accidental is emotional disorientation and mental trauma. So even though there’s no car accident injury, the heart and mind are damaged. Apart from these psychological issues, some physical injuries might present themselves a few days or even a few weeks after the accident.
If you’re not careful, by the time the symptoms start to show up, you’ll have resumed normal activities, which only exacerbates the injury. Also, if you sign the release of liability form too soon, you’ll ruin your chances of getting fair compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In this post, we’ll be highlighting a few delayed car injury symptoms that you should keep an eye out for. That way, you can keep both your health and legal affairs in check.
What Happens After a Car Accident?
Immediately after an accident, your adrenaline shoots up, so if you’re not severely injured, you may walk away from the scene feeling fine. After that, you should take notes with the other motorists, exchange contact information, and take down any additional information.
If you experience whiplash, then the first one and a half months after the accident will be all about conservative care. This conservative care includes things like massage, physical therapy, and even chiropractic sessions.
Conservative care aims to initiate and accelerate the healing process. If the pain persists beyond six weeks, then the hospital may call in a pain doctor. This doctor will help reduce pain by administering regular shots of anti-inflammatories and other pain killers.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you should be free to go home after six weeks. However, you still have to make regular visits to the hospital before you fully recover.
Common Delayed Car Accident Injury Symptoms
Sometimes accident injuries may surface a few hours, days, or even weeks after the accident. Here are a few symptoms of delayed car accident injuries.
It’s very common to experience mild to severe headaches after a car accident. Mild headaches are harmless and will go away with time. For the time being, you can use OTC pain medication to assuage the pain.
If the headaches only get worse with time, then it could indicate a much worse problem. If you have blood clots in the brain, then your headaches will be much severe. A serious headache could also signal a concussion or a traumatic brain injury.
Some blood clots and brain injuries are life-threatening. So if you experience severe headaches that don’t seem to go away, it’s best to see the doctor ASAP.
You may start feeling a nagging pain in your back a few days after the accident. If you experience such, it may indicate one of the following:-
- A back sprain
- Soft-tissue injury
- Disc hernia
If instead of pain, you get a tingling sensation in your back, then it’s because of a pinched nerve. In case of any back pain or tingling feeling in your back, see the doctor as soon as possible. It may escalate to excruciating pain or even lead to permanent disability.
Abdominal pain is any pain you feel below the ribcage but above the legs. This could be a sign of internal bleeding. Other signs of internal bleeding are deep purple bruising or a sharp pain if you touch your abdomen.
It’s hard to tell if you have internal bleeding. In fact, some folks take several days before they have internal bleeding. This bleeding is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Pain in the Neck and Shoulders
When you experience pain in your neck and shoulders after an accident, then it’s probably whiplash. Most times, you’ll experience whiplash right after the accident. However, sometimes it takes a while before you start feeling pain in your neck and shoulders.
Sometimes this neck pain is accompanied by stiffness. If that’s the case, then you should see your doctor as soon as you can. The doctor will arrange and Xray and an MRI scan to determine the extent of your injury.
Sometimes whiplash could amount to a spinal injury. The Xray and MRI scan should be able to tell if it did. If it’s a spinal injury, then you require immediate medical attention.
Sometimes your whiplash may manifest as numbness or a tingling sensation in your arms and legs. This numbness and tingly feeling indicate nerve damage in segments of the spinal column. This numbness may occur moments after the accident or take a few days to surface.
As mentioned earlier, victims of car accidents don’t only suffer physical injuries. Most accident victims also experience psychological hurt and emotional distress. Here are a couple of psychological conditions you may experience after a car accident.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic mental disorder or PTSD is a mental disorder that’s characteristic of people who have just experienced a traumatic event. In this case, the traumatic event is a car accident. This is common with military personnel or police officers because of their line of work.
PTSD may manifest itself right away or long after the car accident. PTSD can seriously deteriorate the quality of the victim’s life. Some common symptoms of PTSD include:-
- Extreme pessimism and loss of interest in daily activities
- Detachment and apathy
- Frequent nightmares of past horrific events
- Visible physical reactions like sweating, shivering to reminders of tragic events
- Loss of memories, especially crucial details of the tragic event
- Sporadic flashbacks of the traumatic event
These are just a few symptoms of PTSD. The victim may experience one or a few of the above symptoms. Regular medication and visits to the psychologist can help resolve PTSD.
Changes in your behavior can be both psychological and physical. For instance, a traumatic brain injury can lead to personality changes without any significant psychological event. Other symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include memory loss, problems with coordination, sight and hearing.
Depression and behavioral changes are also symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. If you experience any of the following, then make a point of seeing the doctor as soon as you can. Fortunately, brain injuries resolve with proper medication and abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
Treatment After an Accident
After a car accident, it’s crucial that you see a medical professional, even if you feel fine. Even though you don’t see any physical injuries, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. Plus, a simple checkup after an accident never hurt anybody.
The doctor will determine whether you sustained any serious injuries. Some life-threatening conditions start as mild pain or slight discomfort that you may brush off. To be on the safe side, make sure you see a doctor right after a car accident, even if you feel okay.
Legal Affairs Concerning Delayed Car Accident Injuries
After a car accident, you, as the injured party in the event, should sign a release of liability form. However, signing this before your symptoms have surfaced may be detrimental to you receiving compensation from the at-fault driver.
As such, it’s important that you first get a complete analysis of your injuries before signing any claim settlement forms. Furthermore, make sure you get an accurate estimate of any current and future medical expenses that you’ll have to pay for the injuries.
The best time to pursue your statement is when you’ve completely stabilized, and there’s no chance of getting any other symptoms from the accident. To get the best car accident injury claim, request legal help. There’s nothing that a good car accident injury lawyer can’t handle.
The only way you can get compensation for delayed injuries is if you’ve not yet signed the release form before the injuries surface. The release form terminates the lawsuit, including any other injuries you experience later on. That’s why you shouldn’t rush with filing your claim because you might miss out on compensation for your delayed injuries.
The Legal Evaluation
Once you file your claim, what follows is a comprehensive legal evaluation. The accident lawyer will make an evaluation of your car damage and the injuries you sustained. This evaluation should come after you are recovered, and there’s a small likelihood of any new injury resurfacing again.
Don’t Overlook the Signs
Even the most subtle symptoms of a car accident injury are worth your attention. You have nothing to lose by seeing the doctor, but you have much to gain. Remember to talk to your car accident lawyer so that you can secure the compensation you deserve.
Car accident injuries aren’t our only area of expertise. For more informative reads, be sure to check out the other pieces on the site.