Each year, over 3 million Americans are injured in car accidents, and some of those injuries result in long-term disabilities. Getting in a car accident is a terrifying, stressful, and all-too-common ordeal. Unfortunately, many car accident victims forgo medical treatment. Often, we’re so focused on the damage to our vehicles, the stress of the moment, or the chaos surrounding the accident that we forget to take care of the most important detail — ourselves.

Car accident injuries are often stealthy. Neck and spine injuries can lay dormant for days, if not weeks. Concussions can take hours or days to show symptoms. And broken bones may be painless due to the adrenaline coursing through your system. If you wait to see a doctor, you may jeopardize your claim, your health, and (in some cases) your life.

Should You Go to the Hospital Immediately After an Accident?

If you were involved in a car accident and you suspect that you’re injured, you should immediately go to the hospital and get a checkup. This is especially true if you lose consciousness, notice mood changes, are sensitive to lights, or feel any physical pain. However, it’s important to note that trauma from an automobile accident doesn’t always manifest immediately. Traumatic brain injuries, concussions, spinal cord injuries, and other impact-related injuries can take hours, days, weeks, or even years to fully manifest.

Going to the hospital as-soon-as-possible can help you quickly diagnose your injuries and identify any critical issues that may require immediate treatment. Often, pain from an accident manifests hours after the impact. The adrenaline surging through your body after a traumatic event can mask pain with endorphins. So, if you notice any post-accident pain the next day, schedule an appointment with your physician or head to the emergency room.

What if I Don’t Feel Any Injuries?

You can’t “feel” all injuries. For example, concussions and traumatic brain injuries sometimes take a lengthy period of time to manifest any symptoms. Depending on the severity of your accident, it’s wise to check in with your doctor for some tests. Remember, the sooner you get diagnosed with an issue, the sooner you can start treatment.

What if My Injury Symptoms Appear at a Later Date?

You may notice symptoms hours, days, weeks, or months after an automobile accident. Even the slowest of accidents are scary. Your body may rapidly jolt forward and stop, and you may collide with various instruments in your vehicle (e.g., dashboard, mirrors, steering wheel, airbags, etc.) One common symptom of car crashes is “whiplash,” — which is a neck/spine injury resulting from the rapid back-and-forth movement of your head during a collision. This is a soft-tissue injury that may take a few days or weeks to fully manifest, but that doesn’t make it any less serious.

Other injuries (physical and mental) that commonly have late-onset symptoms include:

  • Soft tissue damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Concussions
  • Spinal disc injuries
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders

However, nearly any injury can have late-onset symptoms, so it’s important to contact your doctor if you notice any symptoms days, weeks, or months after your initial motor accident.

What Symptoms Should I Look Out For?

Car accidents involve thousands of pounds of force, glass, rubber, metal, and human bodies. The potential for injury is high. In fact, over 3 million Americans are injured each year in an automobile accident, and 2 million of those injuries are classified as “permanent.” Due to the force and impact involved in car accidents, there are many types of injuries that can occur. Here are some of the common symptoms to look out for, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • Bruising
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seeing stars
  • Light sensitivity
  • Trouble sleeping or waking up
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Hearing problems
  • Loss of balance
  • Headaches
  • General pain
  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tingling in the arms or other extremities
  • Pain in chest
  • Loss of motion

In addition, we recommend doing a full body check to see if there are any hidden cuts, bruises, or lacerations. Remember, many symptoms don’t appear immediately. You may require x-rays and a full medical workup to diagnose any “hidden” injuries. Early treatment improves the odds for both physical and mental injuries.

What if My Symptoms Aren’t Physical?

Physical symptoms may be easy to identify, but mental symptoms can be difficult to understand and fully articulate. After an automobile accident, you may notice that you feel “off.” Maybe you have difficulty sleeping, or you feel more irritable and moody. Don’t push these symptoms aside. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of mental disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. According to one study, 39.2% of Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) survivors develop PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression disorders include:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mood changes or irritability
  • Loss of interest
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Sadness
  • Inability to function in certain situations

If you notice any of these issues, contact your physicians immediately. Not only do some of these symptoms also mimic serious physical ailments like traumatic brain injuries, but they may be due to mental disorders that require early intervention and treatment plans. Don’t waste time. That “off” feeling may be something serious. Listen to your body. See a doctor.

Get in Touch With Professional Car Accident Lawyers

Your first decision after a car accident should always be to seek medical attention. But, once you’ve gotten a checkup and discovered any underlying issues, your second instinct should be to contact a car accident lawyer. Medical care is expensive, and car accidents can leave you feeling hopeless, stressed, and confused. Depending on the nature of your accident, you may deserve compensation. We may be able to help you navigate these difficult times and get you the compensation you rightly deserve. Contact the professionals at Alvendia, Kelly & Demarest Law Firm online or at 504-200-0000 for a free consultation. We’re here for you.