You’ve just been slammed by another driver. Your heart’s racing. Your body might have struck something in the car, but you might not even be sure what happened or how hard the impact was.
Are you injured? Perhaps you think you’re fine. You might even be able to get out of the car and walk. But there’s a chance you could be seriously injured and not realize it. In some cases, car accident victims experience delayed injuries. You may have sustained a serious injury, like concussion, brain trauma, or whiplash, but symptoms might not be apparent until days or even weeks later.
Symptoms of delayed injuries
The following are some common symptoms that can be signs of delayed injuries:
- Headaches: You may have a concussion (which is a brain injury) or some other type of brain injury. Often headaches appear days after the crash. A brain injury does not require impact. Whiplash alone can cause brain injuries like concussion. You might have struck your head against an object in the car, or you may not remember what happened, but a brain injury can occur even without an impact. A forceful change in motion can cause a head injury, such as when your head moves violently front to back or side to side. Some refer to this as a whiplash injury.
- Pain in your neck or shoulder: This is another sign of whiplash, or worse. The crash might have caused your head jolt forward or backward, which can strain and stretch tendons in the neck and shoulders. It’s not unusual to feel no pain in the neck or shoulder moments after the crash. You may feel like you have a sore throat from those muscles being stretched. However, many victims of accidents don’t start to notice symptoms of whiplash the next morning or even days later.
- Pain in the stomach area (abdomen): Car wrecks sometimes lead to internal injuries that are not immediately noticed. Abdominal pain may be a sign that you are experiencing internal bleeding. You may see a dark bruise in the pain area. Internal bleeding also is sometimes linked with dizziness, light-headedness or fainting spells.
- Pain in the back area: One of the more common side effects of a car accident is back pain. Such symptoms could be a sign of whiplash. You also might be experiencing a herniated disc, a back sprain or spinal cord damage. Sciatica, in which you feel radiating pain that may go down the back of your leg, is another possible injury.
- Feeling numb in arms and hands: If you’re experiencing tingling or numbness, you may have a neck or spinal injury. Often, someone in an accident sustains a herniated disc resulting in numbness and tingling sensations that might not be immediately apparent.
What to do after a car accident
Because symptoms of your injuries can be delayed for days or even longer, it’s critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a car accident. A medical professional can conduct a thorough examination and determine if you have any “hidden” injuries. Make sure to tell the doctor all parts of your body that hurt, even just a little bit, to ensure they are documented for later problems to be connected.
Car accident insurance claims can become complicated, especially when the injury does not become apparent until days or weeks later. The insurance company may argue an injury you're experiencing was not the result of the accident. They may try to reduce your compensation or deny your claim outright.
To make sure your rights are protected, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Attorney Jeremy Vishno has more than 25 years of experience handling a variety of accident cases. He offers free consultations.
Attorney Vishno stands up for his clients and fights for the maximum compensation they deserve. He knows the truth. If the insurance company is not willing to negotiate a fair settlement, he will take the case to trial and hold the negligent driver accountable. Contact the Vishno Law Firm today for a free consultation.