Immediately after a car accident, you may feel fine physically. However, you could have injuries that you do not yet know about. Symptoms of traumatic injury from a car accident often do not start showing up until hours, days, or sometimes weeks after the accident.
There are two reasons for this. Sometimes it takes a while for symptoms to develop. Other times, the symptoms are present right away, but you cannot perceive them because your system is still flooded with adrenaline in the aftermath of the accident. Once the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to calm your body down, adrenaline production declines and you start feeling the pain. Here are some common delayed symptoms to pay attention to after an accident.
1. Neck or Back Pain
After an accident, many people start experiencing pain in the neck and/or the low back. This is because the force of the collision often jerks your spine around, damaging the nerves and other soft tissues that surround it. Pain in your back may be a symptom of injuries such as a compression fracture or a herniated disk. Neck pain could indicate similar injuries, as well as whiplash, a painful but relatively minor condition that often resolves on its own.
2. Numbness or Tingling
While back or neck pain could indicate injury to the vertebrae of the spine, numbness or tingling in your arms and legs could indicate damage to the spinal cord itself. Such symptoms that occur after an accident should be evaluated in the emergency room immediately. Left untreated, they could develop into paralysis.
3. Abdominal Pain
A heavy blow to your abdomen during a car accident could result in internal bleeding due to organ damage. Symptoms of internal bleeding can be mild and first and become more severe as the bleeding continues. Internal bleeding is a dangerous condition that can cause many complications, such as hypovolemic shock. Therefore, any pain in your abdomen following an accident should be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.
Headaches following a car accident could be a symptom of a traumatic brain injury, especially if the pain is severe. A TBI can result from an impact to the head from the accident. However, the force of the collision can cause your head to whip around, which sometimes causes the brain to slosh around and strike the inside of the skull, which can also result in injury.
It is always a good idea to have a medical evaluation performed as soon as possible after a car accident to assess for any symptoms. The other driver’s insurance should cover your medical expenses. One of our attorneys at Patterson Bray can guide you through the claims process. Contact an attorney with questions about your car accident case.