Common delayed symptoms after a car accident include internal bleeding, headache or neck pain, and psychological changes, which can take anywhere from days to months to appear. While some injuries, such as penetrating trauma, bruising, and broken bones, become apparent, doctors may have a harder time diagnosing injuries that do not show up right away on imaging tests or cause the victim any discomfort.
When victims are not yet aware of potential injuries, they cannot accurately calculate their damages because of their accident. This may present a challenge in seeking just compensation for their losses.
Delayed Symptoms After a Car Accident Can Indicate Serious Health Concerns
In some cases, car accident victims can experience severe health conditions after the collision without immediately realizing it. They may resume work and physical activity without restrictions, all the while remaining unaware that the symptoms of their accident injuries have yet to surface.
Similarly, car accident victims may attribute new symptoms to current injuries instead of suspecting that they indicate new problems. This can lead to the hastening or worsening of the condition, which may require urgent medical attention. Delayed symptoms commonly affect the spine, brain, and abdominal organs.
Spinal and Head Pain
Two of the most frequently occurring car accident injuries, headache, and whiplash, may not be evident right after the collision occurs. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), victims may not experience symptoms of whiplash until several days after the accident. They may include:
- Neck stiffness
- Shoulder pain
While headaches may indicate whiplash, they can also be a stand-alone diagnosis or point to a concussion.
In rare instances, serious spinal cord injuries may not show up on initial imaging scans or cause the victim any pain. Additionally, research suggests that even those who experience normal recovery from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may have a greater risk of developing brain disorders later in life.
External hemorrhaging, or bleeding on the outside of the body, is easy for victims and doctors to recognize. However, internal hemorrhaging can happen slowly or not until later and could be a sign of serious medical conditions.
For example, car accident victims may suffer from bleeding under the skull or abdominal organ damage without showing any signs of injury. Because the bleeding can occur over an extended period, fluid accumulation may not appear on initial scans. Symptoms of delayed bleeding may include:
- Severe pain
- Slurred speech
Victims who experience these symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible, as they may lead to serious complications that require further testing and treatment.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often affects people who experienced terrifying situations, such as car accidents. According to the Mayo Clinic, PTSD symptoms may start within a month of the event, but it can also take years before victims start to experience them. Symptoms vary by person, but they include:
- Intrusive memories
- Negative changes in mood and cognition
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions
There is no cure for PTSD, but medications and therapy can help people manage it.
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Insurance Companies May Offer You a Settlement Before Your Symptoms Present
Insurance companies operate for a profit, not to help victims. If you qualify for compensation for your injuries in an insurance claim due to your car accident, your insurance company or that of the liable driver may offer you a settlement shortly after the accident. This may seem appealing but be aware that adjusters may offer these amounts knowing they may not cover all of your injuries, which may especially prove true if you experience delayed symptoms. Seeking legal assistance can help you avoid these traps so that you can pursue adequate financial awards.
A Lawyer Can Help You Seek Fair Compensation for Your Injuries
Victims can file claims against the at-fault party in their car accident case by themselves if they wish to do so. However, they may find that the process is more complicated than they expected. Lawyers are familiar with filing claims and know what to expect, even in tough cases. They can conduct a thorough investigation of your accident, establish liability in your case, and evaluate your damages so that they can strive for a fair settlement on your behalf.
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Contact Berger and Green for a Free Case Evaluation
Berger and Green has a history of achieving compensation for car accident victims in the Pittsburgh area. If you experienced these or other common delayed symptoms after a car accident, contact us today at (412) 661-1400 to speak with our legal team about your financial recovery options.
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