Car accidents happen in the blink of an eye, and they are traumatic for anyone involved. After being involved in a car accident, your body almost automatically goes into “fight or flight” mode, where you are running on adrenaline. It comes as no surprise that, because of the way our bodies react in the event of a traumatic event like a car accident, many victims have no idea they are actually injured, sometimes seriously injured after the accident.
Once your adrenaline and endorphin levels drop, the pain from your injuries will likely begin to hit. For this reason, it is important that you seek immediate medical care following the accident. This is particularly important in the State of Florida, as injured accident victims have only 14 days to seek medical care after a motor vehicle accident, or they risk being denied Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits from their own insurance company.
Here are some of the most common delayed injury symptoms after a car accident.
Soft Tissue Injuries
One of the most common types of injuries people sustain in car accidents are referred to as soft tissue injuries. Another word for these injuries is whiplash. Soft tissue injuries involve damage done to muscles, tendons and ligaments that are considered soft tissue in your body. Even minor fender benders can result in soft tissue injuries.
Anytime you are driving and come to a jolting stop, this sudden change in movement puts a great deal of stress on your joints and other areas of your body. One of the more common areas that sustains soft tissue injuries is the neck. As you are traveling forward in a car, and you hit something or something hits you, your head is suddenly and forcefully thrown back and forth.
Your neck muscles are not meant to sustain this type of movement, which can result in pain, reduced mobility and swelling. The problem is these symptoms do not always show up right away. It can be days before the person begins to feel them after an accident. These injuries are also not picked up in normal X-rays, which makes them very difficult to diagnose. It is important that you see a medical professional as soon as these symptoms manifest so that the injuries are properly documented.
Back, Neck and Head Pain
Your muscles may not be the only part of your body that begin hurting after a car accident. Many accident victims complain of headaches that come on days after an accident occurs. They can often be brushed off as being related to something else, but they could be connected to something more serious, such as a traumatic brain injury, a blood clot or injury to the neck or head. The same applies to any back pain that is experienced after an accident. It is possible that you damaged your ligaments or vertebrae during the accident. Even if you do not think it is related to the accident, you should still be checked out if you develop this kind of pain after an accident.
You may not have realized it while it was occurring, but if you believe you hit your head or your body was jolted so violently that your brain sustained any type of injury, you should seek medical attention. Concussions are extremely serious injuries and should not be ignored. Their symptoms do not always appear right away, but as soon as any of the following symptoms are experienced, you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Blurry vision;
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering new information;
- Clouded thinking;
- Unusual sleeping patterns.
Personality Changes and a Decline in Physical Function
If an individual experiences personality changes or has a change in physical function (i.e. – loss of coordination), these can be signs of a traumatic brain injury and they should seek medical treatment immediately to ensure that no further damage occurs.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Aside from the physical injuries sustained in an automobile accident, mental health issues can develop as well following the accident. Car accidents are traumatic, they can turn your world upside down in a split second. Due to the trauma, many accident victims suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This oftentimes manifests in the form of vivid flashbacks of the accident, fear and anxiety that it will happen again, and sleep disruption in the form of nightmares. If any of these symptoms occur, it is important that the person suffering talk with a doctor who can properly diagnose and treat PTSD.
We always recommend that a person seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident, even if you do not feel pain. Medical professionals are trained in diagnosing injuries and asking the right questions you may not even consider in determining if you are hurt. Additionally, many insurance companies will argue that symptoms that appear much later than the accident are not connected to the actual incident, and if you choose to not be seen by a medical professional after the accident or at least as soon as the symptoms begin to manifest, you may be setting yourself up for a difficult battle in getting compensation for your injuries. It is extremely important that you show that you sought medical attention in a reasonable period of time after the accident.
The insurance company is going to want you to settle as soon as possible, and it can be tempting, especially if you do not feel you have been injured. However, you will be signing a waiver of any future claims when you settle. If you begin to experience symptoms later after that waiver is signed, you will have barred yourself from pursuing a legal claim for any injuries that manifest. In Florida, you have four years under our state’s statute of limitations to pursue a legal claim from the date the accident occurred. If the insurance company is pressuring you, and you feel you need assistance, contact a personal injury attorney who can help protect your interests and field these communications on your behalf.
Involved in an Auto Accident in Central Florida? Hire an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Attorney.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a car accident, it is important you contact an experienced Orlando auto accident attorney to help you file a claim. The law firm of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. is the Home of the More For You Guarantee and is dedicated to protecting the rights of those involved in automobile accidents and will fight aggressively on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve following an accident. We can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, property damage, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail. Our office is open daily from 8AM – 5PM. We are also available by phone 24 Hours a Day, 7 days a week at 407-422-4529.