You got into a car accident a few days or weeks ago, and at the time, you thought you came out lucky. You didn’t have any obvious injuries, and you thanked your lucky stars that your car was the only thing damaged. But as time has gone on, you’ve started to feel worse, and now you’re wondering if you may have had injuries you didn’t know about. Sometimes, auto accident injuries may not appear until a little while after the crash.
Read on to learn why this happens and what you should do to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Common Auto Accident Injuries
Before we dive into what to do if your car accident injuries show up later, let’s talk some about injuries you might be likely to see after a car accident. Many people experience soft tissue injuries – injuries to their muscles, tendons, and ligaments – after car accidents. The most common soft tissue injury is whiplash, an injury to the neck muscles when the head is thrown suddenly forward.
Many people also suffer concussions as a result of auto accidents. A concussion occurs when your head is thrown forward with such force that your brain collides with the inside of your skull. Concussions can be so mild you may not notice them, or they may cause difficulty remembering new information, nausea, lack of energy, abnormal sleep patterns, and more.
Why These Injuries Might Not Show up
So how is it possible for you to get hurt in a car accident and not realize it until later? For one thing, when you get injured in a car accident, your body goes into panic mode and begins cranking out adrenaline. This is what makes you feel jittery and hyperaware, and it can mask pain and other symptoms of injury until later on.
Some injuries and medical problems also just take time to start showing symptoms. For instance, if you received a concussion, it could take a few days for those symptoms to manifest or for you to realize something is wrong. Soft tissue injuries may not appear for a couple of days, and you could have longer-lasting repercussions of injuries that take time to show up.
See a Doctor After the Accident
When you get in a car accident, you must see a doctor immediately afterward. Even if you feel fine, you may have a concussion or other serious issues lurking below the surface. A doctor will know the warning signs of these injuries and will be able to diagnose them early enough for you to get the treatment you need.
Unless you’re badly injured, you may not want to take an ambulance from the scene of the crash to the hospital. These rides can be expensive, and if you’re not in immediate medical danger, you may not need them. But if you don’t go to the hospital after your accident, be sure to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible.
Don’t Settle Immediately
Fairly soon after your accident, you’ll likely get a message from your insurance company with a settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance. Depending on the amount being offered, it may be tempting to take this offer right away. After all, they’re offering you money, and the faster you accept, the faster you get paid, right?
The problem is that once you accept a settlement, it’s much, much harder to go back and claim that you need extra compensation. If your symptoms or complications take a while to manifest, you may be facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. If you immediately accept the $5,000 settlement the insurance company offers, you could get left holding the bag.
Report New Symptoms
Over the following weeks and months after the accident, keep a close eye on your health and any existing symptoms you have. Try to keep a detailed log of your symptoms, including whether they get better or worse and if any new symptoms appear. If these new symptoms do show up, report them to your doctor as soon as possible.
Keeping this kind of a detailed log can be enormously helpful when you get ready to fight for a larger settlement later. You’ll be armed with facts about the progress of your injuries, rather than vague statements about things getting worse. And keeping these sorts of records can also help your doctors figure out a treatment plan that will work best for you.
Continue to Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Throughout your recovery, it’s important to continue following your doctor’s advice and your treatment plan. For one thing, sticking to your doctor’s orders will help you recover as quickly and as well as possible. It can also give your doctors better insight into any complications that may arise.
Following your doctor’s advice can also help make your case for more compensation stronger, should you have to go to court. If you ignore your treatment plan and your symptoms get worse, the other insurance company could argue that you caused the problems yourself. Following your treatment plan will show that your injuries were the result of the accident and continued despite your best efforts.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Car accidents can be terrifying, and dealing with the injuries afterward can be painful. In some cases, auto accident injuries may take a while to show up, so don’t accept a settlement right away. See a doctor as soon as you can, follow their advice to the letter, and report any new symptoms as they arise.
If you’d like help getting the compensation you’re entitled to, check out the rest of our site at Sweet Lawyers. We handle the property damage portion of your case for free, and you don’t pay any fees unless we recover money for you. Contact us today and schedule your 100 percent free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.