A car accident, regardless of its severity, is a traumatic event. Whether it's a fender-bender or a violent head-on collision, there is significant physical force when a vehicle strikes or is struck by something. Often, when individuals are involved in a car accident and there are no apparent injuries, they may not notice the pain or symptoms of injury right away. This could happen for a number of reasons that are worth exploring.
Our car accident attorneys know that the lack of pain or obvious signs of injury soon after a crash does not mean that you have not been injured.
Adrenaline Rush Masks Pain
Car accidents provide an adrenaline rush because the body realizes that you have been involved in a traumatic event. So, just as a star basketball player who is injured during an important game may continue to play without noticing he or she has been injured until the game is over because of that adrenaline rush, a person who is involved in a car accident may not "feel" injured until much later – after that excitement and adrenaline rush has worn off.
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An event such as a car accident will create a high level of excitement causing the body to generate adrenaline and endorphins. Once those chemicals are not released anymore, you can begin to feel pain. Sometimes, the accident-related pain doesn't surface for several days after the incident.
Types of Pain or Injury After a Car Accident
If you were recently involved in a car accident, pain could be an indicator or a symptom of a more serious underlying injury that wasn't diagnosed soon after the accident. Here are some of the most common pain symptoms you need to watch out for if you have been involved in a car accident.
Headaches: Ordinarily, most of us would not take a headache too seriously. However, if you did strike your head against the inside of your car or if your body was jolted during impact, you may have sustained a concussion. While concussions are considered to be "mild" traumatic brain injuries, there is nothing mild about the nature of these injuries and what they can do to your body.
The symptoms of a concussion can be subtler and could include confusion, inability to concentrate, memory issues, headaches, blurry vision, nausea, dizziness or a lack of energy. You could also experience abnormal sleep patterns such as sleeping more or less than usual. If you experience these types of symptoms after a car accident, it is critical that you seek medical attention right away.
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Back and neck pain: A soft tissue injury refers to damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments (parts other than bones) that are considered as "soft tissue." The forces of a car accident exert a lot of stress on joints and other parts of the body. One of the most common soft tissue injuries sustained in a car accident is known as "whiplash." This is where the neck muscles become injured when the head is suddenly and violently thrown forward and then back. Soft tissue injuries could result in pain and reduced mobility. However, these symptoms may not show up soon after the crash. They could take several days or even weeks to manifest.
Soft tissue injuries can also be more challenging to diagnose because they are not visible on an X-ray. If you feel any pain or discomfort after a car accident, getting proper medical treatment is imperative. If you experience back pain after a collision, it could be the sign of a herniated disc, sprain or other soft tissue injuries such as muscle damage. If such pain is accompanied by numbness or tingling, it could also point to pinched nerves.
Abdominal pain: When you experience abdominal pain after a car accident or chest pain, it is critical to contact a medical professional immediately. This may be a symptom of internal injuries, which can become fatal if left untreated. Internal bleeding may cause dizziness, headaches or deep bruising as well.
Psychological issues: In addition to any physical damage that may have been sustained, individuals may also display symptoms of psychological issues such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. This could be related to the actual incident or may stem from physical injuries or temporary/permanent disabilities. In addition, brain injuries may cause emotional or personality changes.
Get Medical Attention Immediately
Our car accident attorneys advise anyone who has been involved in a car accident to see their doctor right away – irrespective of whether they are feeling pain or have suffered apparent injuries. This is because your doctor will be in the best position to determine whether or not you were affected by the accident. Your doctor will also be able to provide advise when it comes to monitoring symptoms and the red flags to watch out for. Getting prompt medical attention also helps you document the fact that you sought treatment or care soon after the accident.
Do Not Rush into a Settlement
If you have been involved in a car accident, it is very important that you do not rush into a settlement with the insurance company or other parties involved in the incident. It is customary for parties to sign a release of liability form after a car accident claim is settled. This act essentially marks the end of the lawsuit and often negates future claims related to the incident.
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If you sign this form before having a chance to determine what injuries you have sustained and what treatment you might require, you may lose out on compensation for your injuries and any continuing treatment you may need. Some individuals even need surgery or become disabled due to chronic pain because they cannot work. This leads to more expenses and lost wages, none of which can be claimed if you signed an agreement or settled your case too soon.
We Can Help You
This is why it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer who will analyze all aspects of the incident, ascertain all of the injuries you've suffered, and come up with a solid estimate of your future needs and expenses. While you may be anxious to settle your car accident claim, it would be in your best interest to be patient and consult with your lawyer before you sign your rights away.
The experienced Orange County car accident lawyers at Timothy J Ryan and Associates have helped car accident victims and their families recover damages such as medical expenses, lost income, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitative therapies, permanent injuries and past and future pain and suffering. Contact us at 714-898-4444 for a free and comprehensive consultation and case evaluation.