As an adult who’s been driving a car for some years, you’ve probably been in at least one car accident – even if it was only a minor fender bender. In fact, statistics say that the average driver will get into an accident roughly every 18 years, which works out to about 3 or 4 accidents in a lifetime if you started driving when you were 16.
The likelihood of one of these accidents being fatal is small, but the chances are pretty good that you’ll be injured at least once. The problem, however, is that when an accident doesn’t hurt your car too badly, it’s easy to assume that the same is true of your body. Many people walk away from an accident without receiving any medical attention only to start feeling pain in the days or weeks afterwards. This might be because of the adrenaline and shock that occurs after an accident, but it can also be because some injuries don’t manifest themselves right away. That’s why it’s so important to always get checked out by a doctor and to be on the lookout for symptoms.
One of the most common and dangerous injuries caused by car accidents is head injury which can range from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries. And unlike a cut or broken limb, you may not immediately be able to tell that anything is wrong. Some people may lose consciousness briefly after a head injury, but some do not. Furthermore, you may not feel any symptoms for hours or days after the accident.
Because the symptoms of concussions and brain injuries are so varied and differ from person to person, it’s critical to be aware of all signs and to see a doctor even if you have the slightest suspicion that something may be wrong. You may not spot the symptoms yourself, so it’s helpful to have someone you know monitor you for a while as they will be more likely to spot any unusual behavior that could indicate an injury.
What may feel like a minor car accident can be a real shock to your system, especially in an area like the spine, which relies on a delicate alignment. Depending on the accident and the force involved, all kinds of back injuries may occur. These include slipped or herniated discs, sprains, strains, fractures, sciatica, and more. Some types of back injuries may only cause soreness and limited movement temporarily, but some may result in long-term problems that later require surgery or physical therapy to treat.
Perhaps the most commonly known injury associated with car accidents is whiplash, which is another term for soft tissue injuries in the neck. In laments terms, this means that tendons, ligaments, and tissue (the body’s “soft” areas) have been bruised, sprained, or strained. Soft tissue injuries can occur anywhere in the body, but most often occur in the neck because of the nature of your position when sitting in a car.
The abrupt impact can cause violent trauma to these delicate parts of your neck. The result might be soreness and headaches that go away after a few days or more severe damage that requires physical therapy or chiropractic treatment to heal correctly. It’s normal to be a little sore after any kind of car accident, but you won’t know how serious your injuries are unless you see a doctor.
Being in a car accident can be shocking and disorienting, so it can be hard for people to even know which parts of the body were impacted. Sometimes, crash victims sustain injuries that tear or crush blood vessels inside the body. When that happens, it’s usually obvious but that’s not a rule.
It’s possible for internal bleeding to go unnoticed, which is why you must watch for symptoms like abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, large areas of deep purple colored, and swelling. If you do notice any of these signs, get to an emergency room immediately.
Don’t Ignore Injuries
For both your physical wellbeing and legal rights, you must seek medical attention if you see any sign of injury after a car accident. If you ignore the problems, they may only worsen and by the time you go to the doctor, it may be too late to receive any sort of insurance coverage.
There’s no denying that a car accident is very traumatic on your body, whether you feel the effects right away or not. A quick check up from a doctor is all you need to confirm that you are, indeed, as fine as you feel.
And as the old saying goes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
John Zaid is a Houston car accident lawyer and the founding member of Zaid Law, a personal injury law firm. When he’s not advocating for his clients, John enjoys sharing his knowledge to help others by contributing to a variety of online publications. To learn more, visit www.Zaidlaw.com today.