For many people who experience car accidents, injuries aren’t immediately obvious. In fact, many injuries have delayed symptoms that show up hours or even days after the impact.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t prepared for the reality of these injuries. Even worse, some victims aren’t sure how to incorporate such delayed symptoms into their personal injury case.
In this post, we’ll discuss the reality of delayed symptoms, what to look for, when to seek medical advice, and also how an attorney can help you secure a comprehensive personal injury settlement for all your injuries–even those that don’t show up right away.
Types of Injuries That May Have Delayed Symptoms
Some injuries, like broken bones and lacerations, are obvious immediately. Others, however, don’t show up right away.
Neck and back injuries, for example, sometimes take days or even weeks to appear after a car accident. Internal bleeding can take 24 hours to three days to appear after a car wreck. Concussion symptoms, on the other hand, often don’t present for hours or even days after a crash.
Additional common injuries with delayed symptoms include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Some broken bones
- Skull fractures
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage or soft tissue injury
- Injury to limbs leading to removal of the affected limb
- Chest injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Internal bleeding
- And more
The only way a victim can check for the presence of these injuries is to seek medical advice. Doing so decreases the likelihood that a serious injury will arise later. Seeking medical attention also provides the medical documentation needed to get a fair payout for your injuries and damages.
If you don’t visit the ER with EMTs, make an appointment with your doctor for an examination as quickly as possible after the accident. Even if you do not have obvious symptoms, your doctor may identify the signs of an injury before symptoms appear.
If you experience any new symptoms or your existing symptoms get worse, report them to your doctor immediately.
Dangerous Symptoms to Watch For
After your car accident, watch out for these symptoms. If you experience any of the following, contact your doctor:
- Neck and shoulder pain. Pain in these areas could indicate whiplash or injuries to the spinal cord or nerves.
- Numbness. Numbness in extremities, like the legs, feet, arms, or hands, could be a sign of an injury to the spinal cord. It could also be a herniated disc, pinched nerve, or even a spinal fracture.
- Severe headaches or new or worsening migraines. Headaches are an indicator of many dangerous injuries, including whiplash, fractures to the skull, hematoma, concussions, TBI, and more.
- Changes in mental processing, personality, or emotions. If you notice that you feel easily confused or overwhelmed, or there’s been a significant change in your emotions or personality, it could indicate a brain injury, PTSD, anxiety, or depression.
- Vomiting or nausea. Both can indicate internal injuries, brain injuries, and more.
- Dizziness. Dizziness is a common symptom of head injuries and concussions.
- Back pain. If you begin experiencing sudden or severe back pain, it could indicate a spinal cord injury, or injuries to the vertebrae, muscles, or ligaments. It may also be a symptom of a neck injury or whiplash.
- Problems speaking, concentrating, or focusing. All of these symptoms indicate injuries to the brain or a severe concussion.
Dealing With the Insurance Company After an Injury
Once you’ve been in a car accident, it’s normal to want to settle your case quickly. After all, the process is difficult and can be stressful, and you want it behind you as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the possibility of delayed symptoms is exactly why that’s not a good idea.
Here’s a scenario to consider:
You’re in a vehicle accident and you think you’re fine. While you were sore for a few days, the muscle aches quickly went away and you felt like life was back to normal. Two weeks after the accident, the insurance company reaches out with a settlement. It seems generous, and you take it happily. Just a few days later, though, you start to notice splitting headaches. Your vision blurs, you feel nauseous, and you can’t function.
What’s going on?
You see your doctor and she diagnoses you with a traumatic brain injury and also spinal cord damage. While you can recover, it will require months of intensive physical therapy and chiropractic treatment.
Unfortunately, you already settled your case, which means that none of this care or the expenses required to access it will be included in your settlement. And you can’t go back and plead for it now.
While it’s tempting to settle right away, waiting (and hiring an experienced personal injury attorney) helps ensure you won’t miss any injuries that could be lurking.
How an Attorney Can Help With Your Personal Injury Case
If you have an injury that results in delayed symptoms, it’s critical to get both the medical and legal care you need to recover. While an attorney may not be able to help you resolve your delayed symptoms, good legal representation can help you secure the financial settlement you need to recover fully and get the medical treatment you need.
If you thought you were fine and have not been seeking medical care, delayed symptoms can really catch you off guard. If you thought your injuries were only temporary, you may also be shocked to find out that they’re actually much more serious. It’s hard to bounce back from some of the deeper, less obvious concerns that may take a while to show up.
Here at Ward & Barnes, we focus exclusively in personal injury law, and helping people like you get the skilled assistance they need from an attorney they can trust. Once you’ve sought medical attention after your accident, call our office. We understand how difficult car accidents can be to process, and we’re here to help you.