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When most people think about common car accident injuries, they think about broken bones, severe head injuries, and lacerations or scars. In the same vein, most people think that if they are ever severely injured in a car accident, they will feel it right away. However, this is not always the case: Some car accident injuries often take days to present symptoms. Without considering the true extent of their injuries, car accidents may forgo seeking medical attention, and potentially accept a settlement offer that does not cover the total cost of their future medical bills.
DELAYED SYMPTOMS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
As mentioned, most car accident victims tend to feel that if they were injured in their accident, they would immediately feel the pain of those injuries. There are a few reasons that this is not an accurate way to assess your injuries. First, car accidents cause your body to produce large amounts of adrenaline and endorphins. One of the effects of the chemicals produced by your body during an accident is the blocking of pain. This means that you could feel totally fine immediately after your accident, only to get home and realize that your injuries were more serious than you initially thought.
In addition, certain types of injuries tend to present their symptoms more slowly than others. For example, when you are dealing with concussions or soft tissue injuries, you may leave the injury site feeling great but begin to suffer headaches or body pain a few days later. Because of the possibility of delayed symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention after an accident.
1. Neck Pain and Whiplash
One of the most commonly suffered injuries with delayed symptoms after a car accident is whiplash, but some people do not begin to experience symptoms until several days after their accident. Whiplash occurs most commonly in rear-ending accidents, and it happens due to the muscles in the neck and back being rapidly extended beyond their normal range of motion, which can leave the victim with a sore neck after their accident. Whiplash injuries can sometimes be very serious and require substantial treatment to address totally.
2. Upper Back Pain
People complaining of car accident back pain in their upper back often have suffered similar injuries to whiplash, in which the muscles in the upper back and shoulder area have been hyperextended due to a sudden change in speed from a collision. These injuries can include sprains and strains of the muscles in the area. Like neck pain, symptoms can sometimes not show up until several days after the accident.
3. Lower Back Pain
If you are dealing with lower back pain after your accident, then it is possible that you could have suffered damage to the spine and nervous system. This sort of pain is reported in many rear-end and side collision cases. It is important to note that damage can occur even if the collision does not occur at highway speeds—low-speed accidents can cause serious damage as well. This type of injury can sometimes be accompanied by tingling and numbness.
Learn More: Back Pain After Car Accident
4. Stomach Pain
Stomach pain can be particularly dangerous because it can sometimes take several days for symptoms to appear and can just seem like an upset stomach after an accident. However, stomach pain could be a sign of internal bleeding, which is something that you cannot diagnose by yourself and could potentially be life-threatening if left untreated. Internal bleeding may also be accompanied by deep bruising, headaches, and dizziness or fainting.
5. Headaches and Dizziness
Along with the muscular damage mentioned above, whiplash is also a common cause of headaches and dizziness in car accident victims. The same rapid movement caused by a collision that hyperextends muscles in the neck and back can also result in concussions or other head damage as the brain is jolted around in the skull. Headaches can have a lot of different causes and can also range in severity, so it is important to seek medical attention quickly if this is a symptom that you are experiencing.
Treatment for Whiplash from Car Accident
- If you are suffering from a headache due to whiplash, after you have consulted with a medical professional, there are a few things that you can do on your own to address the symptoms to help get you back on your feet.
- Ice the affected areas of your neck and shoulders to reduce pain and inflammation. Make sure to wrap the ice in a towel to prevent skin damage.
- Take a painkiller drug like Advil or Aleve, which will help address pain and swelling. However, before you use any sort of painkiller regularly, make sure to get approval from your doctor.
- Wear a neck brace or collar. These tools can help to stabilize the neck and head, which will allow for healing and will prevent any further damage. Keep in mind, however, that these devices are not meant for long-term use because they can actually weaken the muscles in the area if worn for too long.
6. Chest Pain
Chest pain after a car accident can be caused by a wide variety of things. One common cause is seat belt injuries to the chest after an accident. Though seat belts are often life-saving, the sudden restriction that they cause during a high-speed collision can actually cause fractured ribs. The blunt force from an accident can also cause chest pain in the form of muscle strains, bruised ribs, and internal organ damage. If you may have suffered damage in this area during your accident, it is important to get checked as soon as possible, as symptoms may take as long as two months to crop up.
7. Leg Pain
Leg pain, including knee pain, is another fairly common result of a car accident. Rear-end collisions can force your knee or leg to crash into the dashboard in front of you, and sudden braking may also cause soft tissue damage in the foot or leg. As mentioned before, soft tissue injuries may take a while to present symptoms, so it is important to be evaluated by a doctor as quickly as possible after the accident.
8. Hip Pain
Hip pain after a car accident can have a few different causes. One common cause is a fracture or break in the hip bone. Another cause is hip dislocation, in which the hip is dislocated from its proper joint. Both of these are typically caused by large amounts of blunt force and require immediate medical attention to address fully.
9. Muscle Spasms
Muscle spasms such as back spasms typically occur as a result of the overextension of muscle fibers and/or nerve damage. The spasms happen as your body tightens the damaged muscles to prevent movement that could further damage the area. These spasms can last anywhere from a couple of seconds to a few minutes at a time and may not begin to happen until weeks after your accident.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU EXPERIENCE SORENESS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
1. Seek Medical Attention
As is apparent from the discussion above, some injuries from car accidents don’t show their symptoms until days or weeks after the accident. That doesn’t mean that they are not present, however. Seeking medical attention soon after your accident can potentially prevent further damage and resolve your physical injuries as quickly and painlessly as possible.
2. Gather Information
Medical bills can be expensive, and if your injuries are severe, then the bills may pile up quickly. If this is the case, you may need to seek compensation greater than the insurance companies' first offer. This will require documenting your accident and subsequent injuries. Compile all of the information you have about the accident and your injuries, including police reports, pictures or videos of the accident scene, and medical reports from your doctors.
3. Contact an Attorney
Navigating the post-accident landscape can be very complicated. In addition to this, you will most likely be up against experienced insurance companies and adjusters who want to pay you as little as possible. Talking to an experienced car accident attorney may help you evaluate what your claim might be worth, and they also may be able to devise a strategy to aid you in seeking the maximum compensation for your injuries.
TELL ZINDA LAW GROUP ABOUT YOUR SYMPTOMS
If you think that you may have a car crash claim, Zinda Law Group can help. For one, the insurance company may offer you less than what your injuries are actually worth, and accepting their offer could leave you unable to pay your medical bills down the road. In addition, Zinda Law Group has the ability to investigate your accident and may hire expert witnesses in order for you to try to present the best possible case in your claim for damages.
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