It is not unusual for the victim of a car accident to only begin to feel the effects of injuries hours, days or even weeks after the accident occurred. Adrenaline plays a substantial role in suppressing pain during moments of crisis, but the effect is temporary. Other injuries just take time to manifest themselves.
These delayed injuries can complicate your ability to collect compensation through the legal system. Despite what insurance adjusters say, there are many legitimate delayed injuries that you deserve to have taken seriously. Our Silver Spring car accident attorneys can help make sure that happens.
Here are a few delayed injuries you need to be aware of:
Concussions are one kind of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a physical injury to the brain that can result in a wide array of medical, psychological or behavioral problems. A concussion occurs when the body experiences a blow to the head resulting in the brain bouncing against the skull; however, a victim may suffer a concussion without actually being hit in the head. A sudden change in momentum, like from a car accident, can cause the neck to jerk violently back and forth with the brain bouncing against the skull, creating a similar effect as a direct hit to the head.
Concussion symptoms include:
- Loss of equilibrium
- Mood swings
- Increased irritation
- Marked changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Diminished response time
- Sensitivity to bright lights and loud
Despite common belief, a person does not have to be rendered unconscious to suffer a concussion.
Most concussion victims can expect to make a full recovery within a few days, but there are risks of long-term complications, especially if the victim has experienced a concussion in the past.
Whiplash is an injury to the neck that frequently occurs in car accidents, especially rear-end accidents. Similar to a concussion in many ways, whiplash usually occurs when the victim experiences a sharp back-and-forth jerking motion centered in the neck.
It is possible to suffer a concussion and whiplash in the same accident, and because their symptoms can be comparable, it may be difficult to determine which injury you have. But unlike a concussion, whiplash is primarily limited to the neck, while a concussion involves the head. Whiplash occurs when the nerves, muscles and joints in the neck overextend beyond their usual range of motion.
The universal symptom of whiplash is characterized by the presence of acute pain in the victim’s neck. Although whiplash pain is usually centered at the back of the neck, it can extend to the upper back, shoulders and even the head. Symptoms of whiplash are strikingly similar to those of a concussion, including headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and changes in sleep patterns. One sign specific to whiplash is ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus.
It is typical for symptoms of whiplash to be delayed, often appearing within between twelve hours and five days from the time of the actual injury. Although minor cases of whiplash only require less than a month to heal, severe cases of whiplash can take several months to recover fully. In some occasions, the pain caused by whiplash can be permanent. A permanent injury can be problematic when it comes to settling your case because once you negotiate a settlement, there is no further source of compensation for your injury regardless of how long the symptoms last.
Standard treatment for whiplash includes physical therapy, usually consisting of exercises and stretches designed to help you heal, and possibly painkilling medications if the pain is severe.
3. Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries are kind of a catch-all designation for damage to the muscles, ligaments or tendons; for example, whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury, but there are many others. Strains, sprains and bruises (formally referred to as contusions) to any part of the body fall within the category of soft tissue injuries. Because of the full range of possible soft tissue injuries, the diagnosis is highly patient-specific.
Soft tissue injuries may take anywhere from a day to a week from the time of the accident to present themselves. The victim regularly experiences some form of pain, the severity of which depends on the underlying injury. Other common symptoms associated with a soft tissue injury can include inflammation, stiffness, discoloration and difficulty bearing weight.
4. Psychological Trauma
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that develops in some people as a result of exposure to severe trauma. Although PTSD is usually associated with combat veterans and sexual assault victims, those who have been injured in serious car accidents are also susceptible to the disorder. Although symptoms may take some time to develop, they can have a devastating impact on the victim’s quality of life.
Because the symptoms of PTSD are primarily mental and not physical, victims often face difficulty diagnosing and treating them. Additionally, the victim’s struggles may be easily dismissed or downplayed by family, co-workers, friends, medical professionals and especially insurance adjusters. This lack of support can lead to aggravation of the victim’s mental distress.
If you suffer from PTSD as a result of a car accident, it is important not to let anyone diminish your pain and suffering for the purpose of depriving you of the financial compensation you deserve. The legal system allows a victim to recover damages from an accident for psychological injuries, as well as physical ones, so if you are suffering, you should not hesitate to seek damages for your trauma.
People living with PTSD often experience flashbacks of the incident and may avoid triggers that take them back to the accident. These flashbacks are not only highly debilitating but can interfere with their ability to perform the tasks associated with everyday living, especially if they are now afraid of driving or riding in a car as a result of a traumatic car accident.
Other common symptoms of PTSD include changes in mood, eating and sleeping. Victims may exhibit negativity, hopelessness or severe anxiety. A lack of concentration and a propensity to startle easily are not unusual, and in extreme cases, the victim may act bizarrely with no concern for their safety and well-being.
Contact Goldberg Finnegan
These are some of the most common delayed injuries associated with car accidents, but there are many others. If you are injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel who will not only help you fully understand the extent of your injuries but also protect your rights to help ensure you can recover any damages you may be entitled to receive.
At Goldberg Finnegan, our personal injury lawyers have decades of experience handling car accidents, as well as a variety of personal injury cases.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your claim. We are well-versed in the law concerning car accidents and will be able to help you determine if you have a case. If so, we will be there to guide you through the entire litigation process from beginning to end. We will handle the stressful legal work, so you can focus on getting well and moving on with your life.
Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis; therefore, there is never any charge for legal fees or other expenses unless we recover compensation for your injuries. Contact Goldberg Finnegan today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us get to work for you.