After a high-stress incident such as a car accident, the chemicals naturally produced by the body can mask the pain of injuries for a period of time afterwards. Just as athletes sometimes continue playing without noticing they are injured in the excitement of a game, car accident victims may feel fine immediately after a collision, even though they are actually injured. This often comes as a result of the endorphins and adrenaline generated by the body in response to the stress of the accident.
Car accidents involve a great deal of force. Even a low-speed collision that does no significant damage to the vehicles involved can cause injuries to the body. When a vehicle collides with another vehicle and comes to a sudden stop, the body stops also, and organs, muscles and other parts of the body can be jolted and injured. Passengers can be tossed around, causing stress to the joints and other vulnerable body parts.
In a T-bone collision, you could hit your head on a side window or door frame and not even be aware after the accident that the impact had occurred. A low-speed rear-end collision may cause soft-tissue injuries and damage to the neck that does not become apparent until the following day or even later. A severe jolt can cause damage to the brain, even with no direct impact to the head, and the appearance of symptoms may be delayed.
Symptoms are often delayed for certain types of injuries commonly sustained in car accidents, including:
This is an injury common in rear-end collisions, and is caused by the whip-like motion of the head and neck when a vehicle is hit from behind. Whiplash can result even from low-speed rear-end crashes. Symptoms of whiplash can be delayed for days or more after the initial trauma.
Symptoms of TBI may be delayed for days, months or even years after an injury. When TBI symptoms are delayed, patients may suffer the serious impact of brain injury on their physical, mental and emotional health without the benefit of treatment.
The trauma of an automobile collision can cause internal bleeding and injury to internal organs. Even less serious trauma can cause internal bleeding, and it can be delayed after an injury for hours or even days.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligent driving, getting medical attention immediately is for your own protection – legally as well as medically. If you do not see a doctor immediately and injuries surface later, the other driver’s insurance company might argue that you were not injured or that you are exaggerating the extent of your injuries. How promptly you sought medical attention is one of the criteria that insurance companies use to evaluate claims.
Also, the more time that goes by between your car accident and your initial treatment, the greater the possibility that the insurance company will claim that your injuries could have been caused by something other than the car accident. If you see a doctor immediately after the collision, it eliminates the possibility that your injuries could have been sustained in a different accident between the time of the car crash and the time of your initial medical treatment.
Although you may not at first believe that you are injured after a collision, it is best to be certain with a thorough medical examination undertaken as soon as possible. If you have suffered injuries you were not aware of, you may have upcoming medical and physical therapy expenses, and you may need time away from work to recover from your injuries.
In that case, you will want to file a claim for compensation for your injuries against the driver who caused the accident, and medical records are a critical part of any personal injury claim. They help establish the validity of your claim and the extent of your damages. Damages you may be entitled to claim after a car accident may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
In addition to seeking medical treatment, it is also important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. Your attorney will need to investigate your accident and obtain and preserve evidence that will support your claim. The sooner the investigation is initiated, the more likely it will be that this vital evidence is still available.
Auto accidents are common in Memphis, and the consequences can be serious. After a traffic collision, see a doctor as soon as soon as possible, even if you do not initially believe that you were seriously injured in the crash.