You have probably heard the advice before that it is very important to see a doctor after you have been involved in a car crash. Right after the crash, you may feel a bit dazed as you try to take in what happened. Your body is flushed with adrenaline which is nature’s perfect anesthetic. You are at such a heightened state because of the shock from the unexpected accident that you could have experienced injuries in your body that you do not feel yet.
Did you know that there are some common car accident injuries where there is a delay in the onset of the symptoms? Here are just a few examples of injuries where you may not feel any symptoms immediately after the accident, but in the coming days – maybe even the next morning – you may wake up feeling symptoms:
- Head injuries. Traumatic brain injury can be an invisible injury because the damage is done within the skull. When you are in a moving car which comes to a sudden stop because of a crash, your body continues moving forward until it meets a force that stops it. If you are lucky, this force will be your seat belt and then the airbag. Imagine a slow-motion image of your head swinging forward and then snapping backwards. The brain, which is soft and malleable, slams into the inside of the front of the skull, and then against the back of the skull. These collisions cause a concussion. The person may or may not lose consciousness after the collision. Just because a person does not lose consciousness does not mean that they did not receive a serious head injury.
- Back injury. The pain may not show up immediately, but once it does, it will follow you for a long time if it is not diagnosed and treated. You might have herniated a disc and not feel the pain right away.
- Shoulder injuries. The seat belt goes over your shoulder, and this is a place where the forces of the crash cause the belt to tighten to restrain you in your seat. What might begin as a mild pain can develop into a debilitating injury.
- Knee injuries. Joint injuries in general might seem mild at first, but as the pain increases, your range of motion begins to decrease. Over time, you could find yourself permanently immobile (either partially or fully).
- Psychological injury. Being in a car crash is frightening. If you saw the oncoming vehicle, you may have thought that this was going to be the last thing you would see. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological injury that can show up later and cause anxiety and fear about traveling in a car. PTSD can cause many problems that can spill over into many areas of a person’s life if they do not get help immediately to treat the problem.
Perhaps the most important reason for getting medical attention right away even if you think you are not injured is to preserve your ability to prove the existence of an injury should you decide to file an injury claim. When you visit your doctor, inform them that you were in a car accident and you need to be seen right away. Ask them to do a complete examination and to look out for possible hidden injuries. You may need to undergo further diagnostic testing. Follow up with any instructions your doctor gives you. After your visit get copies of your medical records.
For your own good health and to preserve your ability to take legal action, it is critical that you seek medical attention soon after car accident. If you have any questions about pursuing compensation for your injuries and other losses, an experienced Chattanooga car accident attorney from Wagner & Wagner is ready to consult with you and offer sound legal guidance.
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, we offer our skill and experience to you when you have been injured in a car accident. We serve clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, in North Georgia, and all surrounding counties. You are invited to call us today at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation with a dependable Chattanooga personal injury lawyer.