Although going to the emergency room after a car accident can seem unnecessary when there are no obvious symptoms of personal injury, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, why do so many people hesitate or refuse to seek out treatment after a collision? When the body experiences a car accident or other kind of trauma, it pumps adrenaline, and this can mask serious injury symptoms and make the person feel as though they are unharmed. However, the risk of hidden injuries is too significant to ignore, and failing to get evaluated can be a mistake.
The symptoms of many car accident injuries may not appear until well after the person is at home, and sometimes not for several weeks. This can worsen and complicate the injuries, which can require more treatment than you would have originally needed. Another reason to head to the hospital or emergency room immediately following a car accident is because the documentation can serve as evidence if you have to pursue an insurance claim, settlement, or lawsuit.
Concussions and Whiplash
Concussions can be undetectable without medical examinations, and the symptoms can be easily mistaken for minor ailments. Victims can experience short- and long-term headaches, vomiting, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and ringing in the ears. They may pass out when the concussion happens or might not feel the effects for several hours. These closed-head injuries happen from violent blows to the head and often occur in car accidents. If left untreated, there can be memory loss, problems with concentration, depression, behavior changes, light and noise sensitivity, and sleep problems.
Whiplash after car accidents is also commonplace, and likely to not be felt immediately following a car accident. This can also take time for symptoms to show, and these may include a headache, especially at the base of the skull; blurred vision; dizziness; swelling and bruising; and fatigue. Minor cases can heal in a week or so, but more serious cases can lead to limited range of motion, arm pain, and severe neck pain. People with risk factors such as existing back and neck pain or older age are more likely to experience more severe symptoms. Whiplash occurs when the victim’s neck gets forced back and forth violently; this motion is compared to how a whip is cracked and stretches soft tissues beyond where they should be; it happens often in rear-end accidents.
Are There Other Kinds of Undetected Injuries?
People can experience delayed pain in other parts of their bodies after being in car accidents. Abdominal pain can seem innocuous after an accident, but sometimes it is indicative of a life-threatening injury. This kind of pain can be a symptom of internal bleeding and can present with purplish skin, deep bruises, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, and headaches. It is not possible to diagnose this yourself; an experienced medical professional is needed to evaluate abdominal pain.
Delayed back pain can by symptomatic of herniated disks, muscle and ligament injuries, vertebrae injuries, sprains, and strains. A numbness or tingling of the spinal cord, arms, or legs is another symptom of a back injury and could mean that the spinal cord is pressing on the nerves. These kinds of injuries can also happen after rear-end collisions but are also seen with side-impact collisions; the accident does not have to occur at a high speed for this trauma to happen.
A serious shoulder injury might not hurt until the victim gets home; they might wake up the next day in severe pain. Something like a dislocated or separated shoulder will most likely cause immediate discomfort, but a small fracture or a rotator cuff tear might not. Sleeping on the injury the wrong way can exacerbate the injury and cause the area to become inflamed and too painful to move. Knee injuries such as a torn meniscus or a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear might also be misinterpreted as bumps and bruises after a car accident, but like many of these other undetected injuries can require extensive surgeries, treatment plans, and time missed from work.
One of the hardest injuries to prove following a car accident is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Keep in mind that car accidents are traumatic and terrifying events, and the psychological aftereffects can last for a lifetime. It has been shown that nine percent of people involved in auto accidents later suffer from PTSD. When these victims seek out mental health treatment right away, they may have a better chance for a successful claim.
Should I See a Doctor Immediately after My Accident?
Even if you only feel minor discomfort after a collision, it is wise to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you do not want to go to an emergency room, go to an urgent care center or call your doctor’s office right away. You may be able to get an appointment that same day or the next morning. Even if you feel fine, there is no harm in getting checked over. Symptoms that seem like nothing could turn out to be quite significant.
Be sure to keep accurate records of your appointment, including the date. It is vital to document that you sought medical treatment, either immediately or in a reasonable amount of time; those who wait too long may have problems if they make claims. Insurance adjusters are known to argue with claimants who delay treatment and will assert that if the claimants were really injured seriously, they would have been treated in a timelier fashion. Remember, even if you are concerned that a doctor might think poorly of you for wasting their time or if you feel embarrassed because you think your injuries are very minor, it is always in your best interest to seek treatment, and medical professionals recognize this fact.
Should I Settle on a Claim?
It is never a good idea to settle on a claim before having a complete medical evaluation. Insurers will often contact claimants to request that they accept settlements and sign releases to absolve the company of any future claims. The amount of money might seem significant to you at the time, but if there is a legitimate injury, the amount you need could be much higher.
Some car accident injuries worsen over time, even with medical treatment; there can also be complications. The best course of action is to work with your doctor to determine a timeline to estimate how long it will take for the injuries to manifest themselves fully. By accepting a settlement and signing a release too soon, you will be waiving any legal rights to pursue further compensation from the insurance provider. You cannot go back to them and ask for more money once a claim has been settled.
A serious car accident injury will incur overwhelming medical bills and other expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, plus property damage if your vehicle was damaged or totaled. If the accident was caused by another driver or other drivers, you have the legal right to pursue an injury liability claim. The responsible party might not have enough coverage to pay for your damages, and even if they do, their insurer might put in a few roadblocks to prevent you from getting the compensation for which you are entitled. A qualified car accident lawyer can be your best resource for helping with these kinds of complicated cases.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, Secure Justice for Those Injured in Accidents
Making a claim for undetected injuries after a car accident can be challenging. The experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, are ready to help. We will protect your rights and fight to secure the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 215-569-4888 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.