Being in a car accident can create a phenomenon characterized as an “invisible” injury. This is when your body has experienced a sudden or violent jolt that you do not see or immediately feel to be a serious injury. Often, injuries sustained in a car accident are delayed and can often lead to prolonged pain or a long recovery time if you do not immediately get checked by a doctor.
More times than not, people who are in a car accident may dismiss an injury because even though they may feel a little sore, they can move around and even communicate. This is usually the result of an adrenaline rush when your body releases a chemical that can put you in such an increased state of defensiveness that it can mask pain.
Common car accident injuries that can be delayed
Headaches – Sustained headaches after a car accident can be an indicator of a much larger problem. If your head has been shaken violently enough that your brain comes in contact with your skull, it can cause swelling, bruising, bleeding and brain tissue damage. This action is commonly referred to as a concussion but can be serious enough to be designated as a traumatic brain injury. You may know if this happened to you if you suffer from sustained headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to light.
Whiplash – Whiplash is an injury to your neck caused primarily when the occupant of a car has been rear-ended. The impact causes your body to be pushed forward as your neck and head have a delayed reaction until they are whipped back forward. Whiplash pain can get worse as time moves on if not treated. You can also experience fatigue, loss of motion in neck, headaches and difficulty concentrating.
Abdominal pain – Pain in the torso of your body can go unnoticed for days and even weeks. There are instances where untreated abdominal pain can lead to a life-threatening situation due to internal bleeding or damage to vital organs.
Emotional pain – Not all delayed injuries from a car accident are physical. There can be an emotional toll from an accident that can last a long time and in some cases be devastating. Typically known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this type of injury can be hard to detect on your own and can easily be ignored as just lingering stress or dealing with the after effects of the crash. Emotional pain can cause memory loss, mood swings, flashbacks, lack of motivation, nightmares and unexplained bouts of sadness.
Besides the threat of not treating a potential serious injury, delaying a trip to see a doctor after an accident can also weaken your accident claim. An insurance company can be skeptical of injury claims that have been reported long after the accident. The best way to protect yourself financially and physically is to speak to an attorney right away after your accident, especially if another driver is negligible for your injuries.