Delayed Injury Symptoms to Be Aware of After a Car Accident

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Car accidents are notorious for causing immediate and noticeable injuries like broken bones, burns, lacerations and spinal cord injuries. However, car accidents can also have delayed symptoms that may take hours, days or even weeks to materialize.

When you are involved in a car wreck, your body produces large amounts of adrenaline. The burst of adrenaline can mask symptoms of car accident injuries, so you might feel fine right after the accident even though you are injured. As the adrenaline wears off, symptoms will begin to appear.

The effects of internal injuries can worsen over time, so it might be the case that you do not notice an injury immediately, but instead, only after it progresses. Understand that just because you could walk away from a car accident does not mean you are out of the woods yet.

Be mindful of the potential delayed injuries and some of the symptoms below.

How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?

When you are involved in an accident, you might expect to feel symptoms right away if you have been injured. And, while this is typically the case, it is also possible for various symptoms to be delayed hours, days or even weeks.

One of the most common reasons for delayed injury symptoms after an accident is the enormous surge of adrenaline and endorphins our bodies experience during a traumatic event like an auto accident. This adrenaline release can mask feelings of pain directly after an accident.

Everyone will react differently to the trauma of a car accident, and there is no definitive reason why some people feel immediate symptoms while others experience delayed pain and symptoms.

But it is important to remember that even if you feel fine after a car crash and are able to walk away from it, you are not necessarily injury-free. You will need to continuously monitor yourself in the days and weeks following the accident. But it is always advisable to seek medical attention following an auto accident just to be on the safe side.


Delayed Injury Symptoms to Be Aware Of

What kinds of injury symptoms can be delayed? Here are 10 common examples of delayed symptoms that may indicate the need for medical treatment:


1. Headaches

It is common to experience headaches after a car accident. While headaches are usually harmless and go away with time, they can also point to more serious problems, such as head or neck injuries or blood clots.

Headaches that appear in the days or weeks following an accident may be a symptom of a concussion or other form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, headaches can be symptomatic of various other injuries as well, and it will be important for you to carefully describe all of your symptoms to your treating physician.

If you develop headaches after an accident, it is a good idea to see a doctor. You want to be sure it’s not a sign of a worse condition that can cause serious damage to your health.

You also need to be aware of the risk of traumatic brain injury. If you hit your head in an accident, the soft tissue of your brain may impact the hard interior skull of your head. This could potentially cause swelling, bruising, bleeding and damage to the brain tissue.

This kind of traumatic brain injury can be life-threatening, even if you walk away from the accident with no symptoms at first.


2. Neck or Shoulder Pain

Heads and necks absorb lots of trauma during auto accidents. Delayed neck and shoulder pain can be symptomatic of various traumatic injuries as well. This includes whiplash, soft tissue damage, nerve damage and potentially even a fractured clavicle or other bone.

Some people notice head and neck pain as soon as the accident occurs, but others do not experience or notice any pain for several days. If you begin to notice pain or stiffness around your head, neck or shoulders, make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will schedule an x-ray or MRI to diagnose your injuries accurately.

If your pain is not caused by whiplash, it could be due to a spinal injury, which will need to be treated right away.


3. Back Pain

Lower back pain with delayed onset after an accident may be a symptom of a herniated disc, a soft tissue injury, spinal injury, a sprain or whiplash. While accident victims of all ages can experience back injuries, older victims may be at particular risk for spinal cord injuries due to disc degeneration. Every one of these conditions can cause debilitating pain and challenges with mobility, so please seek treatment as soon as the symptoms appear.


4. Numbness or Tingling

Numbness and tingling are most commonly signs of nerve damage, and they can be delayed if they are either masked by other symptoms or caused by inflammation that worsens after the accident. It’s estimated that 20 percent of people who experience rear end car accidents suffer from symptoms of whiplash, either immediately following the accident or as a delayed symptom.

In many cases, these symptoms will subside over time. However, for some accident victims, medical intervention may be necessary in order to fix the issue and/or prevent permanent damage.


5. Abdominal Pain

Delayed abdominal pain is often a sign of internal bleeding or internal organ damage. If you have large areas of deep purple bruising, dizziness and fainting, those could also be signs of internal bleeding. If you have internal bleeding, it could go undiscovered for hours or even days.

Internal bleeding is a life-threatening condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated by emergency personnel as soon as possible.


6. Limited Mobility or Range of Motion

Limited mobility and limited range of motion are common delayed symptoms after traumatic accidents. If you are experiencing a limited range of motion in your back, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, or feet, this is most likely symptomatic of a sprain, strain, or tear, though there are other possibilities as well.


7. Bruising or Swelling

Delayed bruising and swelling can be signs of broken bones, hematomas and various other traumatic injuries. Once again, if you are experiencing any of these delayed symptoms, it will be important for you to see a doctor right away.


8. Mood Swings

It is normal to shaken up after an auto accident. After all, it is a traumatic event. However, if you notice significant mood or behavior changes in the hours, days or weeks following the accident, you might have a traumatic brain injury. Mood swings following a traumatic accident could be symptomatic of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a concussion, or another form of TBI. If you notice (or if any of your coworkers, friends, or family members notice) that you do not seem like yourself, this may be a sign of an injury caused by your accident.

Other signs include problems with movement, vision, hearing, and memory. When you get diagnosed, you can begin the road to recovery.


9. Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression can also be symptomatic of concussions, but they can also be delayed symptoms of the psychological trauma of being involved in a serious collision or suffering a life-altering injury. These are serious medical conditions that luckily can be diagnosed and treated.


10. Emotional Distress

Likewise, feelings of emotional distress are common in the aftermath of a serious collision or other accident. If you find yourself feeling anxious or distressed to a more significant degree or under more circumstances than you did prior to your accident, you should seek medical and legal help right away.


Seek Medical Attention Immediately

Delayed injury symptoms are more common than you might think. Each year, countless people think they are fine immediately following an auto accident, only to end up with symptoms in the hours or weeks after the crash.

Always seek medical attention after a crash, even if you believe you were not seriously injured. Not only could medical attention save your life, it may also immediately establish documentation that shows the extent of your injuries.

Your injury could be more severe than you initially think, and fast diagnosis and treatment by an experienced car accident doctor are critical for your overall health and well-being. Your doctor will examine you, document your injuries and provide a unique treatment plan.


Should You Speak with an Attorney?

Thousands of people are seriously injured in car accidents each year, which is why the damage sustained in these crashes should never be taken lightly. If you were harmed in a crash, your first step should always be to call 911 and ask for medical attention. Once you have been properly taken care of, make sure you contact an experienced personal injury attorney for help attaining justice and compensation for your injuries.

Call the Duque Law Group now at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.

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