Car accidents can have devastating consequences, some of which are not immediately evident. Victims of car accidents in Olympia and other cities in western Washington sometimes decline medical attention or a trip to the doctor after a crash in which they suffered no apparent injuries. That could be a mistake because the fact that there are no open wounds or broken bones does not necessarily mean that they are uninjured, and an evaluation by a doctor might uncover hidden injuries.
If you were in a car accident, the traumatic experience could cause emotional and mental disorientation that might conceal physical damage. Once the mental fog clears, aches and pains might be the first signs of delayed accident injury symptoms.
Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries
Any sudden impact, such as a rear-end or T-bone collision, typically causes whiplash injuries to vehicle occupants. You might develop the following symptoms in the days or weeks following the accident:
- Traumatic brain injury: Upon the impact of a collision, the sudden back and forth movement of your head causes the brain to smash into the inner walls of the skull. Impaired memory or thinking, problems with mobility, hearing or vision, depression and personality changes could indicate a concussion.
- Back pain: Almost all rear- and side-impact accidents leave victims with damaged vertebrae or injured back ligaments, muscles and nerves. You could end up with chronic low back pain if you decline a medical examination.
- Shoulder and neck damage: Stiffness and pain in your shoulders and neck are some of the most prevalent delayed car accident symptoms caused by whiplash. Diagnosis might require MRIs, x-rays or CT scans.
- Numbness: Damage to your spinal column or neck could cause numbness, tingling or even loss of feeling in your hands and arms.
- Headaches: You might develop headaches in the days following the accident. It is a good idea to mention them to your doctor because they could indicate a serious concussion or even bleeding in the brain.
Whiplash injuries can happen even at speeds below 15 mph.
If you notice abdominal swelling or experience pain, it might be wise to discuss it with your doctor. These symptoms, or large areas showing deep purple bruising, might be signs of internal bleeding. Dizziness and fainting are further indications that you need urgent medical care.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
You might experience vivid flashbacks of the accident and relive it in nightmares. If you leave it untreated, PTSD can adversely affect your personal and professional life.
How would you cope with the financial consequences?
If another person's negligence caused your injuries, you might have questions about your legal rights to pursue financial relief. Delayed symptoms and hidden injuries could complicate the process of putting a dollar value to the damages. This is where the skills of an experienced Washington personal injury attorney come in. Legal counsel can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the proceedings of a personal injury lawsuit.