Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury in the US. In 2018, 2.35 million people were injured or disabled due to car wrecks. Almost any car accident is traumatic. From fender-benders to catastrophic collisions, unnatural and damaging force is put on the human body in a car wreck. Often, victims of car accidents that seem minor do not notice injury symptoms immediately. The importance of monitoring potential injuries following a car accident – for your health and in order to protect your legal rights-cannot be overstated.
Car Accidents are Exciting
Car wrecks are not “exciting” in the fun sense but from a physiological perspective. When an injury occurs, whether due to an auto accident or from playing a sport, our bodies respond to pain by generating morphine-like hormones known as endorphins. Endorphins, combined with adrenaline, operate by super-charging the body and masking the pain until the body and mind have had time to recover from the initial stress induced by the accident. Once the release of these chemicals subsides, the pain from the car accident injuries may start to kick in.
Soft Tissue Injuries After an Auto Accident
Soft tissue injury refers to damage done to parts of the body that are not bone. Muscles, ligaments, and tendons are considered “soft tissue”.
Even low-speed car accidents generate a ton of force. Vehicle occupants often come to a sudden stop or get thrown around the vehicle in a car accidents. This can place a lot of stress on joints and other vulnerable body parts.
The most commons type of soft-tissue injury is referred to as “whiplash”. Whiplash injuries involve an injury to the neck muscles when the head is suddenly thrown forward and back.
Soft tissue injuries result in pain, swelling, and reduced mobility, but victims may not feel these symptoms immediately. Soft tissue injuries often show up several days or sometimes weeks following an accident. Soft tissue injuries are not visible on an x-ray, which makes them challenging to diagnose and properly treat. Accordingly, getting proper medical treatment is essential following an accident.
Concussions After an Auto Accident
While your brain is protected by your skull and the fluid inside, it is still vulnerable. If a car accident victim strikes his head or is violently jolted, the brain may strike the skull with enough force and result in a concussion.
Concussions can be serious, and symptoms may not show up immediately. Sometimes symptoms of a concussion are obvious (such as loss of consciousness or disorientation) but often, they are more subtle. Here is a list of concussion symptoms to look for after an auto accident:
- Blurred Vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Inability to concentrate
- Memory problems
- Clouded thoughts
- Lack of energy
- Abnormal sleeping patterns
If you experience any of these symptoms after a collision, you may have a concussion and should seek immediate medical attention.
7 Delayed Injury Symptoms to Be Aware of and What They Might Mean
Headaches may take several days to manifest. Headaches can signal potentially serious problems such as a concussion, blood clot in the brain, or injury to the head.
Neck or shoulder pain and stiffness
Neck injuries can typically involve whiplash, which can be serious and may require x-rays, CT scans or an MRI in order to properly diagnose. According to PatientInfo.Com, in most cases, whiplash injuries result from rear-end collisions at speeds less than 14 mph.
Back pain could result from an injury to muscles, ligaments, or nerves in the back or damage to the vertebrae. The Back & Neck Pain Center reported that lower back pain is found in more than 50% of rear-impact collisions and 1/3 of all side-impact crashes.
Abdominal pain or swelling
Abdominal pain could indicate internal bleeding. Other symptoms include deep purple bruising, dizziness, and fainting. Internal bleeding is deadly and can remain undiscovered for hours or days.
Loss of feeling in the arms or hands is another indication of a whiplash injury, also referred to as whiplash associated disorder. The feeling results from damage to the neck or spinal column. Modern Medicine reported that 20% of all people involved in rear-end vehicle accidents develop whiplash symptoms.
Changes in behavior (personality or physical)
Changes in a person’s personality or physical function could signal traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms include impaired or clouded memory, vision and/or hearing problems, personality changes, and depression. According to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the 3rd overall leading cause of TBI. Vehicle accidents are the 2nd leading cause of death from TBIs.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Motor vehicle accidents are the #1 leading cause of PTSD in the general population. According to a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) funded study, 39.2% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD.
Importance of Seeking a Doctor After a Car Accident
Any time you are involved in an accident, you should consult a doctor immediately, even if you seem to feel fine. Your doctor will do a full examination and can potentially spot injuries that might not have yet surfaced. Undergoing a thorough medical examination is not only critical to the best recovery in medical terms, but also for your personal injury case.
If you make any injury claim after an accident, it is critical to document the fact that you sought medical treatment within a reasonable amount of time. If victims wait too long to see a doctor, insurance adjusters will argue the validity of the injuries.
Why Contact a Car Accident Attorney?
If you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident, you need to speak with an experienced DFW Personal Injury Attorney. After a car accident occurs, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may attempt to contact you right away to try and get you to sign a release. This release is referred to as the release of liability, which in other terms, releases the insurance company’s responsibility to compensate you later after delayed injuries may appear. Sometimes, insurance adjusters even offer money to entice victims to sign the release. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney will help protect you from predatory insurance practices.
Release of Liability for Settlement
It is routine for the injured victim to sign a release of liability after settling a car accident claim. This release ends the lawsuit and all future claims related to the accident.
However, it is important for victims to be fully evaluated by a medical professional before signing anything from an insurance adjuster. Victims need to obtain immediate treatment and fully comply with their providers’ recommended treatment plans to attain the best physical recovery possible. If the release is signed, and an injury shows up later, accident victims are no longer able to make a claim for the insurance company to pay for any medical treatment.
My Pain after a Car Accident was Delayed, What now?
If you have obtained timely medical treatment and are following your providers’ recommended protocol, you are putting yourself in the best position to receive compensation for all injuries associated with the wreck. Your medical bills will lay the predicate for the damages in your lawsuit. Insurance companies will offer lower settlements based on any missed follow-up appointments, delayed medical care, and any failure to adhere to the recommended treatment plan. Texas law dictates that accident victims have a duty to mitigate their injuries, meaning that not seeking medical help in a timely manner or failing to follow up can keep the plaintiff from receiving damages that they would otherwise be entitled to.
A good rule of thumb for accident victims is to wait until they have achieved “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) prior to your attorney submitting a demand to the insurance company. This medical term refers to the point in which you have reached as full of a recovery as expected by your doctor.
Are You Experiencing Delayed Pain After a Car Accident You Were Involved in?
If you are experiencing pain days or weeks following an accident you might still have time! Many car accident injuries won’t manifest as symptoms until days later. Contact a Dallas-Fort Worth Accident Injury Attorney today. Thompson Law is there for you 24/7/365! To schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation call us now at 817-752-9519, or via our free consultation form.