Car accidents are serious business. Of every accident that happens around the United States each year, over 3 million result in serious injury to the drivers. Of those 3 million, 2 million face permanent injuries that limit the quality of life.
The kind of injuries one can sustain in a car accident are wide-ranging. Fractured and broken bones are easy to spot, but there are a number of potentially dangerous injuries that you may not even feel right away.
It’s a common story: an accident occurs, and the driver is a bit stunned but overall fine. It isn’t until hours or even days following the accident that strange pains begin to appear.
Delayed trauma is a frequent result of traffic accidents. If you’re experiencing delayed pain after a car accident, read on. We’ll walk you through exactly what steps you should take.
What Causes Delayed Pain?
Many injured drivers are caught by surprise when they feel pain in the days or weeks following a car accident. Most assume that any serious signs of injury would appear directly following the collision of two cars. And yet, many leave the scene of the accident feeling just fine.
A car accident can overwhelm the brain. Such a surprising and terrifying event can trigger the release of great amounts of adrenaline and endorphins in one’s body. The combination of these two chemicals can block out the body’s ability to process pain.
The natural reason for this phenomenon is one of survival. The ability to block out pain is intended to help us escape dangerous situations. But in the case of a car accident, it can also temporarily blind us to serious conditions.
Only after these chemicals are flushed out from our system do pain symptoms then arise in a way that we can recognize.
Common Delayed Injuries
As mentioned previously, there are many different types of injuries one can sustain from a car accident. But there a few that are especially common among accident survivors.
What Is Whiplash?
Even simple car accidents, such as fender-benders, generate a great amount of motion and force. Whiplash is a common result. A person is jettisoned forward by the force and then pulled back by the support of their safety belt.
This can create damage to the soft tissue areas of the human body. Joints, muscles, especially in the neck, can be harmed in this rapid back and forth motion.
Swelling and reduced mobility are the main symptoms of whiplash as well as, of course, pain. These symptoms may not show themselves immediately and usually cannot be diagnosed by X-rays.
Whiplash can also cause fairly severe headaches. They can also result from any head trauma sustained during an accident. Sometimes, these headaches fade after a few days.
But sometimes they don’t. These long-lasting headaches can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious condition such as a concussion.
If you have a lasting headache after a car accident, it’s important that you take such a condition seriously. Seek the appropriate medical help.
Concussions can be hard to detect especially at the time of an accident. But they can have serious health repercussions.
Concussions are the result of the brain hitting the skull with great force. There are a number of symptoms that are indicative of a concussion. They include the aforementioned headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
Following an accident, a concussed person might experience clouded thinking, an inability to process information, and abnormal sleep patterns. Their vision may become slightly blurred and their energy levels may decrease.
All of these symptoms, including the simplest of them, may take hours to reveal themselves.
Damage to the nerves and muscles in the back can be sustained in a car accident scenario. Spinal damage, herniated discs, and strong lower back pain are all common injuries.
Lower back pain is especially common in rear-ending accidents, where the force of the collision is directed to that area of the body.
Numbness isn’t an injury in and of itself. But they are a symptom of a bigger problem. If you feel numbness or tingling sensation in one of your limbs, it can be evidence of a pinched nerve or herniated disc.
Depending on where such a sensation is occurring in the body, there could be varying levels of severity.
Stomach pain is a much less common result of car accidents. Delayed stomach pain can be indicative of incredibly serious medical issues, such as internal bleeding. It can require immediate medical attention and possibly emergency treatment.
A frequently overlooked car accident injury is more mental than physical. Car accidents can be traumatic events. They can create post-traumatic stress disorder in accident survivors, or a number of other mental ailments.
The symptoms of PTSD and other disorders can take days or even weeks to arise. Difficulty sleeping, high anxiety, mood swings, and other such changes in daily routine could be indicative of a medical problem that needs treatment.
What To Do If You’re Experiencing Pain
It’s some hours after a car accident and you begin to feel one or more of the above symptoms. What do you do?
Head to the doctor immediately. Not only is this the best course of action for your health, but it will be essential if you hope to win any legal case against the other driver.
A trained doctor will be able to evaluate you and determine what injuries you sustained during the accident. They’ll be able to prescribe help or recommended medical procedures if needed.
They will also give you official paperwork regarding your physical state and the date that you sought treatment. This will be key evidence if you decide to press charges or make an injury claim following an accident.
Waiting too long to see a doctor can ruin the strength of such a case. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will argue away the severity of ailments if medical assistance was prolonged for an extended period.
This can be especially troublesome if you told the other driver or a police officer that you’re fine at the time of the accident.
Even if you feel fine, it can be advisable to visit a doctor following a car accident just to make sure and receive the proper documentation. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to such things.
Settling Car Accident Cases
In the days following a car accident, it’s likely that the other driver’s insurance company will reach out to you. They will most likely try to and get you to sign a release of any claims you may have. They’ll offer a settlement, a decent sum of money, to entice you.
It is highly inadvisable to sign such a release before being fully evaluated by a doctor. Signing too quickly may waive your rights to an injury claim before symptoms of such injury even arise.
A doctor can help you determine how long to wait and look for such symptoms. Until you reach what a doctor will deem as full recovery, you should wait and see if no problems appear.
If you sign such a release and delayed injuries reveal themselves after, you won’t be able to ask the insurance company for help with your medical costs. Your legal right to compensation disappears the moment you sign that release.
A reliable and well-rated lawyer can help to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. It is highly recommended that you don’t sign such a release without consulting with a lawyer as well.
Having both a lawyer and doctor on your side going into an insurance claim can ensure you get the compensation that you deserve for the injuries you’ve sustained.
Delayed Pain After A Car Accident
We are in our cars for hours and hours of our lives. It can be jarring and surprising when our daily morning commute is interrupted by the crunch and crash of a car accident. No one wants to get in an accident, but it happens to all of us at some point.
This unexpected nature allows us to ignore injuries that may prove both serious and seriously costly in the future. If you feel delayed pain after a car accident, it’s essential you take the time to properly evaluate and diagnose the situation.
No one wants to be saddled by expensive medical bills. Knowing the proper steps to take following an accident can save you months of physical and financial agony.
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