Every year in the United States, there are an estimated six million car accidents. That is a lot of bumps, bruises, and breaks, and a lot of pain for injured passengers. Because of the initial shock and adrenaline rush that occurs after a collision, some victims often do not even realize they are hurt.
Many people involved in seemingly minor fender benders do not experience symptoms until hours, days, and even weeks after the initial crash. In fact, some may not even associate delayed pain or other symptoms with a prior car accident. It is important to know the signs of an injury with delayed symptoms. You should seek medical care as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms as your condition may be more serious than you imagine.
Symptoms that may be delayed after a car wreck include:
- Abdominal bruising, pain, tenderness, or swelling: These should never be ignored as they can be signs of internal bleeding. This occurs when a front-row passenger makes contact with the steering wheel or dashboard.
- Back pain: This may indicate damage to the nerves, muscles, or ligaments throughout the back. More than half of rear-impact crashes and three-quarter of side-impact crashes cause lower back pain in victims.
- Impaired physical function or changes in personality: Both symptoms come on slowly and can often be subtle. Nevertheless, they are very serious and may represent a traumatic brain injury suffered at the time of the car accident. Crash victims noticing changes in vision or memory, or experience out-of-character emotional changes should see their doctor right away.
- Neck and shoulder pain and stiffness: These commonly delayed symptoms may be associated with whiplash. A widespread misconception about whiplash is that cars must be traveling at high speeds to cause the condition. Yet, surprisingly, most cases of whiplash involve accidents where vehicles were traveling less than 14 miles per hour.
- Numbness: This is a very common symptom after a motor vehicle accident, present in one in five victims of rear-end crashes. Damage to the neck or spinal column may cause delayed tingling, numbness, and loss of feeling in the extremities.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is an often overlooked, yet debilitating condition brought on by a frightening or painful experience. The condition can interfere with a person’s quality of life, ability to work and productivity.
What to Do if You Have Delayed Symptoms
The most important thing to remember after being involved in a serious motor vehicle accident is to wait before signing a release of liability with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Even if you feel okay immediately after an accident, completing this form essentially bars you from filing a claim at a later date should you experience delayed physical injuries as a result of the wreck.
If you have not signed a release of liability or settled your claim, you may still take legal steps to seek compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering. The first step is to seek medical attention and get a complete evaluation of your condition, and obtain an estimate of what the cost will be to treat it.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims with Delayed Injuries
It is not uncommon to notice symptoms days or even weeks after a car accident. Certain conditions simply take time to develop and present aches and pains. The Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. have extensive experience representing car accident victims with whiplash, back pain, and traumatic brain injuries. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 or contact us online.
We represent injured accident victims in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.