What delayed injury symptoms should you be aware of after an auto accident? Auto accidents are an all-too-common occurrence, but they are a fact of life. And when someone else’s negligence has caused an accident, they should be held responsible for any subsequent negative effects that you are suffering. These effects can be anything from property damage to lifelong physical ailments. But some of these negative consequences do not materialize immediately after the crash. This is particularly true in the case of physical injuries that may take days or even weeks to manifest after the crash site has been cleared.
What Happens After an Accident?
If you are struck by another driver, the impact does not even have to happen at high speeds to have a profound impact on your body. Your body’s natural compensation system kicks in when there is perceived danger, your fight or flight response fires up, and your body starts pumping out adrenaline and endorphins to help you respond to the threat.
This fight-or-flight response is very helpful and can save your life in certain situations. It provides you with a heightened sense of awareness, thereby allowing you to take charge and do what’s necessary after the accident. Even in the midst of a moderate level of trauma, people are able to function and get the other driver’s information, call the police, and document the accident by taking pictures or getting witness statements.
However, there is a bad side to our survival response. The endorphins that flood your system are peptides that activate your body’s opiate receptors, which lessen the amount of pain you feel. So you must keep in mind that, although you may not feel pain immediately after a crash, it may just be the endorphins talking. Give your body the appropriate amount of time to return to its more natural state and reassess. Endorphins are strong and can mask a potentially life-threatening injury. This is why experienced lawyers will tell you how very important it is to make no assumptions and always get checked out by a medical doctor as soon as possible following an automobile accident.
Symptoms of Injury after an Auto Accident
Here are some of the most common symptoms after an auto accident, and the signs to look for that indicate that injury.
Headaches – Headaches that occur even days after an accident should not be ignored. Consistent headaches after an accident can indicate a number of injuries, including whiplash. Whiplash is one of the more common injuries in an auto accident, especially in a rear-end collision. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Whiplash is a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip.”
Headaches may also indicate a concussion. A concussion can happen any time that your brain collides with your skull. Concussions can be minor, or they can indicate something as serious as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). With rest and time, a concussion will heal by itself. However, if you receive another concussion before the first concussion heals, it could be deadly. And if the headache indicates a TBI, which could cause swelling, bruising, or bleeding of your brain tissue, surgery may be required.
Back Pain – You should also not ignore back pain, even if it manifests days after an accident. Back pain can be a sign of whiplash, a herniated disk, a spinal injury, a sprain, or a soft tissue injury. Numbness or tingling in your back or your extremities might also show that your spinal cord has been damaged in a way that pinches off a nerve. These injuries can happen even at relatively low rates of speed, so never assume that you are fine. If you experience back pain after an accident, see your doctor immediately.
Abdominal Pain or Bruising – If you experience pain in your abdomen or notice large areas of bruising, this could indicate that you are bleeding internally. Other signs are dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, fainting, nausea, and blood in your urine or stool. Internal bleeding is a life-threatening condition and will probably require emergency surgery. So if you experience these symptoms, get to your doctor or a hospital immediately.
Numbness in your hands and arms – Sometimes, numbness is just a result of the swelling of your muscles. This is quite common after an accident and can usually be treated with light medication like ibuprofen. However, numbness in your extremities could also be an indication that you have suffered whiplash or a spinal cord injury. So if the numbness persists, be sure to see your doctor so that the cause may be ascertained.
Emotional Changes – Changes in your mood, personality, or your ability to cope with life the way you did before the accident could be signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This disorder is common after combat or other traumatic incidents like rape. However, it can also happen to victims of automobile accidents, especially traumatic accidents. Signs of PTSD can escape your notice because they can be subtle at first and grow worse over time. So keep an eye out for signs of PTSD that may manifest after some time has passed, and seek treatment when necessary.
Let Us Get You the Compensation You Deserve
Auto accidents are draining — emotionally, physically, and financially. And when the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you should not have to shoulder that burden alone. We can help you exercise your rights, and one of those rights is to be compensated for your pain, suffering, and financial losses due to such an accident.
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