Some car accident injuries can be delayed, such as whiplash or concussion. Injuries resulting from a car accident can range from minor to severe, which explains why some victims tragically overlook grave injuries. While some injuries immediately become apparent, it could take days or even weeks for other injuries to manifest symptoms.
Some severe injuries, such as internal bleeding, may not display symptoms immediately after an accident, which is why receiving medical attention is so important after an accident. Something as seemingly innocent as a headache could disguise a life-threatening condition that only worsens with time.
If you were recently involved in a car accident and did not see a doctor immediately afterward, you should not delay scheduling a visit now, even if you feel fine. A variety of injuries can occur in a vehicle collision, and some can lead to lifelong disabilities or chronic conditions that require ongoing medical treatment.
Delayed-Onset Injuries After a Collision
Car crash victims usually expect to feel the impact of a crash immediately after or, at most, within a day or two following the accident, depending on the injury. It is not always the case. Whiplash, for example, might display immediately—as pain or soreness in the neck—but it could also take several days to develop, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS).
Other injuries can present delayed-onset symptoms at an even slower rate. One case of subdural hematoma (a severe form of brain bleed) went on for a month before the patient became aware of it. The only symptoms the injury displayed were a series of mild headaches and some back and neck pain—discomforts that anyone might pass off as normal aches and pains.
In another example presented by the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, a patient silently suffered from intestinal injuries for three days before discovering the severity of the injury. The injuries resulted from something called “seat belt syndrome,” in which the impact of the car accident causes unseen injuries to the intestines from the strain of the seat belt against the stomach.
These examples do not represent rare injuries for car accidents. Any accident victim could walk away with whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, or stomach or intestinal injuries. These cases simply represent how a car accident injury can be delayed.
The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention
Aside from ruling out any life-threatening injuries that may lurk below the surface after a car accident, you should also assess your immediate injuries for the long-term effect on your health. For example, if your injuries required surgery, you may need physical therapy for months or years after the accident. A related condition, such as arthritis, could develop long after your surgery.
Following up with your doctor and maintaining your treatment plan can help you heal after a car accident. Additionally, seeking medical attention will also help you document your losses if you choose to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the other driver.
Emotional Suffering and Trauma
Along with physical ailments, you must also consider the pain and suffering that can haunt a car crash victim. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one car accident injury that can be delayed as well. Some car accident victims begin experiencing PTSD up to 30 days after the accident.
If you choose to file a claim or lawsuit, you may qualify for compensation addressing your intangible losses, such as the pain and suffering of living with PTSD.
Consider Seeking Legal Help
Car accident injuries can be delayed, so you want to make sure you seek fair compensation that accurately addresses your losses—including those you may suffer down the line. Injuries related to car accidents can become costly and force a family into financial ruin.
If you can hold a negligent party responsible, you deserve to receive an honest assessment of the current and future costs associated with your injuries so you can get your family back on track. A car accident lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can help you assess your losses, both economic and non-economic, and fight to recover the compensation you deserve.
We never shy away from tough cases, and we work on a contingency-fee basis, which allows us to get to work immediately at no upfront cost to you. We can help you with an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Call us today at 800-959-1444 for a free case review with a team member.