It can take time for post car accident symptoms to appear. Unfortunately, insurance companies often seize on these delays and try to deny or reduce the value of the victim’s claims. Below, we explain why car accident injuries aren’t always obvious at the scene of the crash, and what you should do to protect your rights. Contact a Lafayette IN car accident lawyer at Hall-Justice Law Firm to learn more.
It’s Easy to Underestimate Your Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can be overwhelming. After a crash, adrenaline and endorphins are pumping through your body. You may also be more concerned about the state of your passengers rather than your own physical state. This combination of excitement and distraction can numb your pain and reduce signs of injury. But just because you feel okay at that moment doesn’t mean that you’re injury-free.
Moreover, some post car accident symptoms don’t manifest until later. While some trauma is very obvious after a car crash, such as lacerations and displaced fractures, other injuries are more subtle at the outset.
For example, you can suffer a concussion or a spine injury and not realize it at the time of injury. What might seem like a mild headache could be evidence of a subtle (but debilitating) head injury, and that ache in your neck may develop into shooting pain associated with a herniated disc.
Identifying Traumatic Brain Injuries and Concussions After a Crash
If you “saw stars” or lost consciousness briefly during a car accident, you may have a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Please be aware that people often have a TBI without either of those symptoms. While a TBI can be life-threatening, most brain injuries do not require emergency surgeries or time in the ICU. Instead, they’re considered concussions (or mild TBIs). But a mild TBI can still have life-changing effects.
You may have a concussion if your post car accident symptoms include:
- Ringing in your ears
- Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
- Problems concentrating or difficulty completing tasks
- Memory deficits or problems
- Mood changes
- Fatigue or problems with sleep
- Dizziness or balance issues
While most concussions resolve over a period of months, some take more time to resolve. Injury victims with extended post car accident symptoms may suffer from a post-concussive syndrome that requires intensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Soft Tissue Injuries May Not Show Up Immediately
At the Hall-Justice Law Firm, we see a lot of soft tissue injury claims. In fact, most car accident claims involve damage to your tissues, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, rather than to your bones. However, these “soft” injuries can have a serious impact on your ability to work and perform your daily activities.
When you’re in a collision, even at a low speed, your body is subjected to a lot of force. These forces can damage the muscles, ligaments, and nerves that run through your joints, spine, and other body parts. But that damage may not be obvious right away. Instead, swelling and inflammation may show up a few days later. What may seem like a bit of soreness can actually be a sign of a torn rotator cuff, a shredded meniscus, or a labral tear.
One of the most common (and misunderstood) soft tissue injuries is whiplash. “Whiplash” is really a catch-all term for injuries to the soft tissues in your neck. The tiniest amount of swelling in the spine can cause severe, disabling pain. Even though insurance adjusters minimize whiplash claims, we know that they’re very real.
How Can I Protect Myself After a Car Accident?
After a car crash, you should always consult with a doctor — even if you just feel mild aches and pains. Those minor symptoms may be the first signs of a serious problem. Most importantly, prompt medical attention can help you get the care you need and speed up your recovery. However, your doctor’s notes may also serve as important evidence in your injury claim, documenting your earliest post car accident symptoms and linking them to the crash.
If you decline medical care at the scene of the crash, go to your doctor as soon your post car accident symptoms appear. You’ll want to explain the crash and your symptoms’ progression carefully to your doctor, ensuring that they understand what happened. You should also consult with an experienced car accident lawyer who can inform you of your rights and legal options.
Finally, you should give your body time to heal before you settle your claim. Sometimes, insurance companies offer settlements days after a crash. While these offers might seem generous and well-intentioned, they’re really aimed at reducing the insurance company’s expenses. Once you accept a personal injury settlement, you typically cannot go back and demand more compensation, even if your injuries worsen or you didn’t realize the full impact of your post car accident symptoms.
Before you agree to a settlement, speak to an attorney at the Hall-Justice Law Firm. We can investigate your claim and help you decide how to proceed with the insurance company.
Discuss Your Post Car Accident Symptoms With a Lafayette IN Car Accident Injury Lawyer
To learn more about how post car accident symptoms can impact your injury claims, contact Hall-Justice Law Firm today. We can help you navigate the complexities of a personal injury claim.