Even if you feel fine immediately following a car accident, it is not uncommon to experience delayed symptoms hours or even days later. Delayed symptoms should not be ignored, and it is critical to take the following steps.
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Seek Medical Attention
Seek medical attention at the first sign of any new symptoms. For example, symptoms such as headaches, neck pain, or back pain can indicate a severe injury that requires prompt treatment. Delaying medical care can lead to further complications and delayed healing.
Document the Accident
Keep a record of any documentation related to the accident, including police reports, medical records, and insurance information. This documentation will be useful if you need to file a claim or lawsuit related to your injuries and other losses. It is also important to document any expenses caused by the accident, such as medical bills or lost wages.
Keep Track of Symptoms
Make a note of what symptoms you experience, when they occur, and how long they last. This information can be helpful for your doctor in diagnosing and treating your injuries. If you have sustained any apparent physical injuries, it is also important to document them with photographs or video recordings.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
After seeking medical attention, be sure to follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Your doctor’s guidance is crucial in ensuring you receive the proper care and attention needed to make a full recovery. If you have any concerns or questions about your treatment plan, do not hesitate to ask your doctor. Additionally, there must be medical records of your injuries to link them to the crash.
Consult with an Attorney
If another party was responsible for your car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, pursuing an insurance claim for a delayed injury can be challenging, as the at-fault party’s insurer can argue that your injury is unrelated to the crash. As a result, consulting with an experienced Houston personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights is critical. They will help you gather evidence and build a strong case to ensure you recover the compensation for your injuries that you deserve.
Delayed Symptoms to Watch For
Common delayed symptoms that can signal a severe injury include the following:
Abdominal Pain or Swelling: Abdominal pain, swelling, deep purple bruises, shortness of breath, fainting, and dizziness, are all possible symptoms of internal bleeding. Without emergency treatment, internal bleeding can be life-threatening.
Headaches: Headaches can signal a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a blood clot.
Changes in Behavior (physical or personality): Any changes in physical function or someone’s personality after an accident can be a sign of a TBI. For example, fatigue, insomnia, memory problems, changes to vision and/or hearing, mood changes such as irritability or depression, headaches, paralysis, numbness in limbs, inability to speak, and more.
Neck or Shoulder Pain and Stiffness: These delayed symptoms often mean whiplash or possibly a herniated disc or spinal injury.
Back Pain: There are many injuries that back pain can be a sign of, such as a soft tissue injury, sprain, pinched nerve, spinal cord injury, herniated disc, or whiplash.
Numbness: A loss of feeling in your limbs can indicate whiplash or damage to the neck or spinal cord.
Emotional Distress: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition commonly triggered by car accidents. Symptoms may appear as severe anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, or uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
This is not an exhaustive list. Any new symptoms after a car accident should be discussed with your doctor to rule out injuries.