Car accidents are chaotic and frightening. Many car accident victims do not realize the extent of their injuries until the accident is over and they are back home. Sometimes, injuries may not become apparent until several hours or several days after the accident. It may even take a week or longer for symptoms to appear after a crash.
Anyone who is involved in a car accident should get checked out by a medical professional immediately. Car accident victims may be suffering from serious health problems such as head injuries without knowing it. Receiving prompt medical care ensures that any injuries are diagnosed quickly. Furthermore, receiving medical care right after an injury preserves the accident victim’s ability to recover compensation with documentation connecting the injury to the crash.
Some Car Accident Injuries Do Not Appear for Days or Weeks
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can lead to soft tissue injuries, broken bones, brain injuries, and back injuries. Sometimes the injury’s severity is immediately obvious. However, other injuries appear minor in the moments immediately following the crash and worsen over time.
When someone goes through a traumatic event like a car crash, the stress can reduce his or her ability to feel pain. According to the American Psychological Association, the exact mechanism behind this “stress-induced analgesia” is unknown. However, it is thought to be related to the release of endorphins during extremely stressful experiences.
Stress-induced analgesia is one reason that many car accident victims do not initially feel the extent of their injuries. It is only after the shock and trauma of the experience are over that the true nature of their car accident injuries becomes apparent.
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Traumatic Brain Injuries May Have Delayed Symptoms
Sudden impacts caused by car accidents can cause the brain to strike the inside of a vehicle occupant’s skull or change the chemistry of the brain, leading to a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can lead to long-term complications.
Some TBI sufferers do not remember the moment of impact because they temporarily lose consciousness. They may not even realize that they hit their head in the collision. After the initial injury to the brain, the brain can swell, which reduces the amount of blood getting to the brain. This can lead to secondary injuries that develop over the hours or days after the impact.
Johns Hopkins states that TBIs can lead to significant, life-changing consequences, including:
- Difficulty understanding abstract concepts
- Reduced problem-solving abilities
- Loss of control over bladder or bowels
- Decreased motivation
Car Accident Victims May Experience Delayed Back and Neck Pain
Another injury that can lead to delayed symptoms is a back injury. When the neck, spine, or back is injured in a car crash, the victim may not initially realize how bad the injury is. They may underestimate the damage that was caused to their body in the collision. However, when the herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, spinal fractures, or soft tissue injuries lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility, they recognize the true extent of their injuries.
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Internal Organ Damage May Not Be Obvious for Several Days
Another serious issue that car accident victims can suffer is damage to internal organs. For example, car accident victims wearing seatbelts during the crash may experience “seat belt syndrome” or organ damage caused by the force of the seatbelt across the abdomen. In one notable instance, bowel and mesenteric injuries were not apparent until three days after the crash, per a case report published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
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Psychological Symptoms After a Car Accident May Appear Days or Weeks Later
As anyone who has been in a serious car crash can testify, being involved in a motor vehicle accident is frightening and traumatic. Many people find themselves dealing with psychological problems after an accident. They may suffer from fear, anxiety, depression, nightmares, and other psychological symptoms weeks, months, or even years after the crash.
One study published by the NCBI found that approximately 25 to 33 percent of car accident victims suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 30 days after the crash.
Discuss Your Case With a Personal Injury Attorney
Car accidents can cause physical and psychological injuries that are not immediately apparent. Symptoms can be delayed by days or weeks in some cases. Individuals injured in car accidents may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, vehicle damage, and other damages caused by the crash. They may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic losses, including mental anguish and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a car accident and you are now suffering from delayed symptoms, contact Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers right away. We may be able to help you get financial compensation for your damages. Call us today.
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