Why Delayed Pain After a Car Accident Can Be Serious

April 14, 2021Car Accidents

Car accidents often result in severe injuries, but sometimes they are not immediately noticeable. Delayed pain can be serious for both your health and your right to compensation. That’s why getting examined after a collision is critical, even if you think you are injury-free.  

Why Delayed Pain Can Be Serious

The brain releases adrenaline and endorphins as a defense mechanism in traumatic situations. Consequently, once the chaos of a car accident is over, you may begin to experience delayed pain in the days or weeks after. Delayed pain can be a sign of a severe injury that requires immediate medical care. For instance, here are seven delayed injury symptoms that commonly occur: 

  • Abdominal Pain or Swelling: abdominal pain, swelling, deep purple bruises, shortness of breath, fainting, and dizziness, are all possible symptoms of internal bleeding. Without emergency treatment, internal bleeding can be life-threatening.  
  • Headaches: headaches can take several days to become apparent. They may signal a serious injury, such as a concussion, injury to the head, or a blood clot in the brain. 
  • Changes in Behavior (physical or personality): any changes in physical function or to someone’s personality after an accident can be a sign of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms may show up as fatigue, insomnia, memory problems, changes to vision and/or hearing, mood changes such as irritability or depression, headaches, paralysis, numbness in limbs, inability to speak, and more.
  • Neck or Shoulder Pain and Stiffness: these delayed symptoms often mean whiplash. An x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may be required to diagnose it. However, they could also mean a herniated disc or spinal injury. 
  • Back Pain: there are many injuries that back pain can signify, such as a soft tissue injury, sprain, pinched nerve, spinal cord injury, herniated disc, or whiplash. 
  • Numbness: a loss of feeling in your limbs can indicate whiplash or damage to the neck or spinal cord. 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a mental health condition that is commonly triggered by car accidents. Symptoms may appear as severe anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, or uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

The best piece of advice after an auto accident is to seek medical care immediately. Having a record of medical evaluation and care will make it easier for your car accident attorney to build a case for compensation. Even if the physician doesn’t find any signs of trauma when you initially visit the hospital, the record of your evaluation shows you made an effort to seek care. If delayed pain from the car accident manifests later, then a thorough record of medical care provides you with a solid foundation to file a claim.

How Delayed Pain Can Impact Compensation

A serious issue when it comes to delayed pain is the potential negative impact on your car accident claim. Demonstrating to the insurance company that the accident was the cause of your injuries can be challenging if you waited to see a doctor. 

Another potentially serious matter is if you agree to a settlement too soon. When another party is at fault for a car accident, their insurance company will probably offer you a settlement to resolve your claim as quickly as possible. If you are free of pain, you may be tempted to accept this offer and move on. However, the insurer’s initial off will typically be much lower than your claim’s value. Especially if you have delayed pain, then it most likely will not be enough to cover your future medical care and other injury-related expenses. Once you accept a settlement offer by signing a release of liability, you cannot pursue further compensation from the at-fault party or their insurer. 

Protect your right to compensation, and don’t rush to settle. Before signing any documents, complete a medical evaluation and speak to a car accident attorney. 

You Have Options

If you are experiencing delayed pain after a car accident, contact Goldblatt + Singer. Our St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer has decades of experience and can advise you on next steps. Call (314) 231-4100 to schedule your free consultation today. 

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