In the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, you might think you're feeling fine because you didn't suffer any immediate injuries. Flash forward to several days, weeks, or even months later, when you suddenly start feeling the aches and pains you should have felt immediately after the accident.
So what's happening? Turns out you've suffered a delayed injury. Unfortunately, these injuries can be difficult to receive compensation for because of their nature and the way they occur. The following offers an in-depth guide on identifying and dealing with delayed injuries so you can work with an auto-injury lawyer to receive the compensation you deserve.
Why and How These Injuries Occur
During the accident, your body's survival mechanisms kick in to help protect you from further injury. These mechanisms include the immediate release of endorphins and adrenaline, two chemicals that help the human body carry out the "fight or flight" response. These chemicals not only help increase the body's overall strength and reflexes for a brief period but also block out the receptors that enable you to feel pain.
These chemicals will eventually wear off, allowing the pain receptors to function as normal. This can result in the delayed onset of pain and soreness in the following days, weeks, or months after the accident.
Symptoms to Look Out For
If you've been in an accident and managed to walk away without any immediate injuries, you'll want to be on the lookout for the following symptoms over the next several days.
- Headaches - A headache that develops several days after an accident could be a sign of a serious concussion, a neck injury, or even a potentially serious instance of brain trauma.
- Back pain - Damaged muscles, ligaments, or nerves can cause back pain to develop shortly after the accident.
- Neck or shoulder stiffness - Stiffness in the neck or shoulders could signal the onset of whiplash injury.
- Abdominal swelling, pain, and bruising - If you start feeling severe tenderness or see deep purple bruising, you may be dealing with internal bleeding or other internal injury.
- Loss of feeling in limbs - This is another symptom that could indicate whiplash injury.
- Changes in physical function or personality - If you begin to have problems with your vision or hearing, experience a drastic personality change, or experience the onset of depression, you may be dealing with a tremendous brain injury caused by a serious concussion.
If you begin to suffer these symptoms, you'll want to see your doctor or physician as soon as possible.
Because many plaintiffs wind up waiting until aches and pains develop before seeking compensation for their personal injury, it can be difficult to successfully make a delayed injury claim. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible. There are several steps you should take to secure your ability to make a claim, starting immediately after the accident.
1. Always have your physician or doctor perform an examination immediately after the accident occurs. An experienced and properly trained doctor will be able to detect and identify hidden injuries that could manifest themselves later on.
2. Make sure you have plenty of documentation detailing how and when your injuries occurred. Having this documentation can protect you against claims that the injury occurred later on due to an unrelated activity.
3. Never waive your right to further compensation. Some insurance providers may ask you to sign a claims release that severely limits your right to further litigation. Others may even offer a settlement immediately after the accident. Accepting such a settlement could limit your ability to receive compensation for your delayed injuries.
These steps can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your delayed injuries.