Not all injuries are immediate, even those caused by a car accident. At the scene of the wreck, there is a lot of confusion and worry. Your body, shaken from the event, is also in “fight or flight” mode. Hormones such as adrenalin are coursing through you. With all this activity, it’s hard to notice what’s happening inside your body.
Once everything has calmed down, you may start noticing discomfort. This could happen days later. In such cases, you have likely suffered a “delayed injury,” damage that doesn’t present itself immediately.
Here are some delayed injuries you could experience after a car accident.
Head injuries can happen during any part of a car accident. You don’t have to bump or hit your head to suffer injuries. Sometimes, a sudden stop can send your brain flying forward, bumping up against your skull. This is a concussion.
Headaches aren’t always the result of damage to the cranium. Other body parts can twist or pull one another, localizing the pain in your head.
Head pain after a car accident could be the result of something serious. At its most extreme, this pain could indicate a blood clot in your brain. This is quite dangerous and potentially deadly.
If you experience a headache soon after a car accident, don’t panic. It could simply be your body coming down from the high of the accident. However, if it continues to last for hours or days, get checked by a medical professional immediately.
If you start to feel pain around your neck after an accident, it could be the result of whiplash. Whiplash is an aptly named injury. Imagine a whip with a ball bearing at the end. When the whip extends, the bearing keeps moving, pulling the whip tight as velocity pushes it forward. This is exactly what happens to your head and neck in a whiplash injury.
When you are hit in a wreck, your torso stops against your seatbelt. Your cranium, however, can keep moving forward at the speed you were traveling. Surprisingly heavy, your head then pulls your neck tight, just like the whip. Thus . . . whiplash.
The pain of whiplash can decrease your mobility as you avoid certain movements. At its most extreme, whiplash can make someone unable to turn their head or even keep it up.
We don’t often think of our middles when we think of car accident injuries. However, it’s common for people to feel pain in the gut or lower. This could be a sign of internal damage.
You may see some bruising in the affected area, but if your injuries are truly internal, you won’t know by looking at yourself from the outside. Only a specialist can locate and diagnose such injuries.
Consider the ways your back can bend in a car accident. If your impact comes from the front, this can throw your forward. Your back could bend in this direction, which is a natural motion for your body. If, however, you are hit from the back or the side, your back will move unnaturally. You could bend backward fast and hard, or you could be thrown to the side at odd angles.
These movements can result in back problems, and you may not experience the pain right away. You could have experienced muscle damage. There may be strains, sprains, or rips in your ligaments.
Even worse, you may have suffered spinal damage. The stretching and compressing your spine experiences in a car accident could result in a herniated disc. This happens when one of the discs between your spinal bones protrudes. It can scrape or poke the nerves that run along the spine, leading to sharp pain. The pain limits your mobility, and at its worst, a herniated disc can lead to paralysis.
NUMBNESS OR TINGLING
Damage to the neck and spine does not always result in pain. Sometimes, the opposite occurs. You can experience numbness or tingling in your extremities. Like the other injuries we’ve mentioned, you may not notice the damage right away. To diagnose this damage, your doctor will need to conduct internal imaging.
PREVENTING DELAYED INJURIES
No matter how minor your car accident appears, go see a doctor immediately afterward. A good physician can locate injuries before you start to feel their effects. Whiplash, for example, is easily recognizable, even when you aren’t in pain.
Early detection helps stave off pain, and it could also prevent further damage. When injuries are left untreated, they can get worse over time. Moreover, some injuries can lead to even more complications. Internal damage, for example, can shift around. If you have a broken bone inside you, it can stab other organs, creating a deadly situation.
LEGAL COMPLICATIONS OF A DELAYED INJURY
When you seek compensation for your injuries, you must prove that your expenses and pain were the direct results of your car accident. This is true whether you are seeking insurance benefits or filing a personal injury lawsuit.
If your injuries are delayed, this can create doubt about their origins. In a personal injury case, for example, the defense can argue that your pain came from something that happened after the wreck. From there, the argument is only as good as your word versus theirs. We’ve said it before, but we cannot stress it enough: go to a doctor as soon as possible after a car wreck. Early records and diagnoses can help prevent accusations of falsehood.
What if it’s too late? You sought treatment only after the pain began, and there is doubt about the origins of your injuries. Now you must rely on your attorney’s investigative skills. By studying the car, your lawyer can corroborate your claims. For instance, they can look at the placement and depth of a car’s impact. If there is a deep dent in the car’s rear, this can support your back injury claims. Other forms of evidence can help, too. Tire marks and surrounding property damage can help show where you were hit and how hard, proving that the wreck caused your injuries.
If you’ve suffered delayed injuries and are having difficulty receiving benefits, trust our firm to help. For a free consultation, call 918-492-7674 or contact us online.