Car accidents injure around three million people in the U.S. each year, including two million who suffer permanent injuries from a traffic-related crash. Even minor injuries can result in pain, which often increases over the first hours or days after the accident, as the adrenaline wears off and the body begins to respond to the injury.
However, many people don’t know what to expect physically after a car accident when to seek assistance or even the assistance they need.
Common Physical Complaints After Car Accidents
Some common physical complaints people have after being in a car accident include the following.
Post-traumatic headaches are perhaps the most common complaint from those who were in car accidents. They have several causes, including a blow to the head resulting in injury to the brain-or whiplash, which causes damage to the soft tissues of the neck that can also result in headaches. It is essential to have a medical evaluation if you have experienced a headache after an accident. It could signify a more severe injury that can worsen without treatment.
Individuals often regard concussions-one of the injuries most often experienced in car accidents-as “minor head injuries.” There is no such thing as a “minor head injury,” given the brain’s important role in controlling the body’s function and limited ability to heal from injury.
#2. Back, Shoulder, or Neck Pain
Back, shoulder, or neck pain is also a common sign of whiplash, which occurs when the sufferer’s head snaps back and forth rapidly, causing damage to the soft tissue in the neck. However, there are other causes of back, shoulder, or neck pain, including damage to the spinal vertebrae or discs, or even an incomplete injury to the spinal cord. Lumbar strains and sprains can also occur after an accident, resulting in low back pain.
Depending on the type of back, shoulder, or neck injury you have suffered, your treatment can consist of prescription medications, corticosteroid injections, surgical interventions, and physical therapy to retain or regain functional use of the back, shoulders, or neck. Damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent paralysis and associated complications that can continue throughout the sufferer’s life.
#3. Inability to Use a Limb or Bear Weight On It
Nearly any bone in the body can become injured in a car accident. Commonly, bone fractures occur to the limbs, including the arms and hands, and legs and feet. If you can’t use a limb or bear weight, you could be suffering from a bone fracture. Other symptoms that are often present when there is a bone fracture are sudden pain, swelling, and obvious deformity of the limb.
Failing to obtain prompt treatment for a broken bone can impair its ability to heal, increasing levels of tenderness, swelling, and pain over time. Having the bone properly set allows ample blood supply to the area to foster new bone material to fill the break.
#4. Dizziness When Standing
Dizziness when standing can indicate a concussion or blood loss from internal injuries. It can also result from a neck injury that involves damage to the proprioceptor, which helps the brain understand where the body is and results in confusion for the brain when injured. Either way, it is essential to seek medical care if you are experiencing dizziness when standing after a car accident, whether this sensation is immediate or occurs hours after the injury.
Some Injuries Present with Delayed Symptoms
Car accidents are traumatic, generally causing a person’s “fight or flight” hormone-adrenaline-to flood the body. This reaction can result in a delayed ability to feel pain from the injury. Additionally, some injuries, such as internal injuries resulting in bleeding, become more apparent over time as further damage takes place. It is important to pay attention to how you feel over the hours and days following the accident and alert your physician if you are experiencing worsening pain.
When Should You Seek a Medical Evaluation After a Car Accident?
Seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident. An ambulance will often arrive on-scene, and emergency medical technicians will evaluate those suffering from physical injuries to determine if transport to a hospital for immediate assistance is needed. Even if EMTs clear you at the scene, if you have lingering or worsening pain or begin experiencing new symptoms, see a physician who can diagnose and treat the injury.
If another driver caused your accident, seek medical treatment to preserve your right to file a claim to obtain compensation for your medical bills, car repair, wage loss, and lost future earning capacity. You can also seek compensation for the emotional costs of your injury, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.
When Should You Talk to An Attorney About Seeking Compensation?
If a car accident injures you, an experienced legal team does not need to tell you that medical treatment and losing work time is expensive and hurts your quality of life. They can tell you that if your accident occurred because of someone else’s recklessness or carelessness, you can seek compensation for your injury. A car accident lawyer can do that for you.
Let a car accident attorney explore your legal options for seeking compensation for your car accident injury.