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Anyone who has experienced a motor vehicle accident probably remembers feeling “out of it” immediately afterwards. This lightheadedness is partly due to the human body’s physiological response to the shock and strain; it produces more adrenaline, which can temporarily lessen the physical pain.
The trauma of a car crash can make it hard for victims to grasp what actually happened. Later on, the body stabilizes and the adrenaline levels decrease. This is when people can better understand the extent of any injuries they may not have immediately noticed.
For some it can take hours; in other cases, it could be days or weeks. These issues can range from mild to life-threatening.
Common injuries that tend to go unnoticed include:
A nagging headache that presents itself the day after a car crash may not be immediately associated with the accident. However, it could be a sign of a concussion, back and neck injuries, or other bodily damage. Concussion symptoms include difficulties keeping awake or sleeping, trouble concentrating, blurred vision, nausea, and dizziness.
Whiplash may occur when a person’s neck and head are moved suddenly; this is commonly seen in rear-end collisions. This trauma may lead to neck pain, swelling, and vocal cord, ligament, and muscle damage.
Whenever the spinal cord is affected in a car accident, there is a risk for nerve damage. A car wreck can affect a person’s joints and also cause herniated discs. These can definitely worsen with the passage of time, especially if not treated.
Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and ongoing back pain that can extend to the legs, arms, and other extremities.
Soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons, and muscles can also take a long time to show up. Diagnosing them can be complicated since they do not show up on X-rays. These injuries can cause decreased mobility, consistent pain, and swelling.
Car accident victims may also experience latent injuries to other body parts, including arms, legs, and their extremities.
Even if there are no physical injuries, psychological scars can destroy the lives of accident victims and those who have witnessed shocking motor vehicle crashes. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other forms of emotional trauma can be difficult to diagnose and can also worsen with time.
Although it may be hard to think clearly after a crash, it is essential to seek medical care. Even if a car accident victim is not experiencing symptoms, a physician may be able to diagnose underlying injuries. Further, a doctor can alert a patient as to what signs to look for in the coming days that could be indicative of an injury.
Contacting law enforcement at the accident scene is also important, since documentation, photographs, and other evidence can show responsibility for previously unnoticed injuries.
Car accident victims should also know that settling a claim offered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company too soon could be a mistake. In many cases, injuries can appear after a release form is signed and settlement has been made. If the victim has already settled, they have waived their legal right to seek additional benefits from that insurance company.
If you were involved in an automobile crash and are experiencing post-accident injuries, we can help. Contact an experienced Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow by calling our Bear office at 302-834-8484, our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Milford office at 302-422-6705, or fill out an online contact form. We serve clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.