Watch Out for Delayed Symptoms After A Car Accident

Approximately 31,000 automobile accidents involving personal injury occur on Oregon roadways annually, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (2016 data). Nearly 45,000 people suffer injuries in these car crashes, many of which suffering severe injuries.

In many serious car accidents, drivers and passengers exhibit obvious signs of their injuries. However, many folks involved in car crashes do not always exhibit obvious symptoms of their injuries.  Indeed, some people involved in auto collisions do not suffer immediate symptoms of injuries at all, even despite the fact that they are injured. This can be due to a whole host of reasons, including adrenaline masking, late-onset swelling, and so on.

If you have been in a car accident, be aware that you may have been injured, and may not exhibit symptoms for some time. You should see a doctor after a car accident, even if you think you were not injured, as there are some serious types of car accident injuries that may not exhibit symptoms until a period of time elapses.  However, if your doctor can catch those injuries early on, your treatment is likely to be much more effective, and ideally, your healing period much shorter than had you waited to see a doctor.

Do Not Minimize Headaches

If you develop a headache two or three days after a car accident, you need to consider it a warning sign that you have been injured. A headache that develops after a couple of days after a car accident can be a sign of concussion, another type of brain injury, neck injury (including whiplash), or even a blood clot. It is not unheard of where people involved in a minor fender bender who developed headaches that got progressively worse die as a result of their seemingly minor injuries.

Back Pain

If back pain develops after a car accident, you have likely sustained an injury to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, disks or nerves in your back.  You may also suffer from injury to your vertebrae (the bones in your back), including microfractures. If the pain radiates into your arms or legs (this is called “radiculopathy”) you should definitely consider seeing an orthopedic or neurosurgical doctor. Some spine injuries cannot be detected by x-rays from the emergency room and require more sophisticated tests such as CT scans or an MRI to diagnose.

Abdominal Swelling, Bloating, or Pain

If you find yourself suffering from swelling or bloating around your midsection, with or without accompanying pain, you may have suffered internal injuries. This is a sign of possible internal bleeding as a result of these types of injuries. You may also experience dizziness and fainting, which can also be a sign of internal blood loss or other injuries. It is important to get immediate medical attention, as this can be a truly life-threatening situation.

Alterations in Physical Function, Personality, or Emotions

The symptoms of traumatic brain injury are not always obvious. If, after a car accident, you find yourself having issues with certain physical functions; if others note changes in your personality; or if your emotions seem “off,” you may have sustained a traumatic brain injury.  These symptoms should prompt you to get immediate medical attention.

PTSD is a Serious Condition

Many people suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), particularly following a serious car accident.  However, many folks may not recognize the symptoms at first. Truth be told, PTSD is a serious condition, and can be treated by counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists; however, treatment for PTSD is most effective when treatment occurs sooner rather than later.

Protecting Your Legal Interests

Following a car accident, consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is a wise decision. Even if you are not experiencing immediate symptoms of injury, you may still have sustained serious injuries in the car crash. Taking a proactive stance to both medical and legal issues represents the best course of action to ensure that you get the treatment you need, minimize your recovery time, and protect your interests after a car accident caused by someone else’s fault.