There were more than 31,000 car accidents in Dallas, according to the most recent year of crash statistics available from the Texas Department of Transportation (TX DOT).
Those who were able to walk away only with a feeling of confusion and shock probably consider themselves lucky. However, just because you weren’t rushed off in an ambulance doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about injuries.
Everyone reacts differently to the stress and trauma of a car crash, and while some people may notice symptoms immediately, others may develop injuries days, weeks, or sometimes even months afterward. As a car accident lawyer in Dallas, we’ve seen many victims wake up the next day or a week later to slipped discs or pain they hadn’t previously felt.
In this article, we’ll review some of the more common delayed injuries or symptoms that can occur after a car accident and outline steps you can take to ensure you receive compensation for your injuries.
Why Do Injuries Appear Later After a Car Accident?
Injuries can manifest hours, days, or even weeks after the crash. Why? That’s because of our body’s natural self-preservation mechanisms.
After a car accident, your body tries to protect you from the trauma by releasing a sudden surge of adrenaline and endorphins. The body releases these “fight or flight” hormones to help you stay alert after the accident and get you through the threatening situation.
Adrenaline can affect the body in several ways, including:
- Increased energy
- Reduced or no pain
- Dilated blood vessels and airways that increase the flow of oxygen
- Increased strength because of more blood going to your muscles
- Changes in your vision and hearing that focus on sights and sounds ahead of you
Meanwhile, your body is releasing endorphins that also mask your pain and make you feel calm and in control.
Because of these hormones, you might not feel the full pain (or any pain) at all from your injuries immediately after an accident until your stress levels have balanced out. For this reason, it’s critical to monitor yourself for symptoms after an accident and consult with a doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Delayed Injuries
You may not feel any immediate injuries or symptoms after a car crash, but even if you feel fine, you’re not out of the woods yet.
You should monitor yourself closely in the days and weeks following an accident and stay alert for the following symptoms of delayed injuries:
- Back pain or neck pain
- Abdominal pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Behavior or personality changes
- Abnormal sleep patterns (not being able to sleep or sleeping too much)
Visit a doctor immediately if you experience any new or uncommon pain after a car accident, even if it’s mild or appears unrelated to the accident. While these may seem like mild ailments, they could be indicative of more severe injuries.
6 Delayed Injuries You Should Watch For After a Car Accident
Given the force and speed involved in most car accidents, it’s not uncommon to develop delayed injuries. Even minor fender-benders can cause severe injuries that don’t manifest immediately after the accident.
Here are six common injuries that can develop hours, days, or weeks following a crash:
- Whiplash – Whiplash develops when the head and neck jerk rapidly forward and backward upon impact in a car crash. Common whiplash symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, numbness and tingling, and headaches.
- Concussion – A concussion occurs when the head is forcefully jolted upon impact in a car crash, causing the brain to bounce around the inside of the skull. Common concussion symptoms include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, memory problems, concentration problems, loss of balance and coordination, mood and personality changes, abnormal sleep, and sensitivity to light and sound.
- Soft tissue injuries – When soft tissues are stretched, torn, or injured during a car accident, it can lead to sprains, pulled muscles, and contusions. Common symptoms include pain, swelling, tenderness, muscle spasms, and reduced range of motion.
- Slipped or herniated disc – Both of these injuries can occur from forceful impact during a car crash. Symptoms of slipped or herniated discs usually include back or neck pain, electric shock-like pains, weakness, numbness, or tingling that radiates down an arm or leg.
- Spinal injury – The force of a car accident can injure or damage the vertebrae, spinal discs, nerves, spinal cord, and soft connective tissues in the spine. Common symptoms include back pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, loss of spinal mobility, numbness, and tingling.
- Depression, anxiety, or PTSD – A car crash is a traumatic event that can significantly affect your mental and emotional well-being. Mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to a car accident and associated injuries can manifest days, weeks or even months after the initial traumatic event.
Can You Still Receive Compensation for Your Delayed Injuries?
The answer to this question depends on the steps you took after the car accident. Many times after a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will reach out to you to collect more information about the incident.
If you’ve already talked to an insurance representative of the at-fault driver and told them “you felt fine,” then they might deny your claim. Or, if you settle too quickly, you might receive an inadequate offer that doesn’t cover the costs of these unexpected injuries. NEVER SETTLE A CLAIM IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS FOLLOWING A CAR WRECK. We have seen this come back and bite way too many people, and it is common for insurance companies to try to do this to save money.
However, if you haven’t spoken to a representative yet or if you were cautious about the wording you chose, then there’s a possibility you can still receive compensation to cover your injuries. There may be even if you have spoken to the insurance company.
Here are some tips to help ensure that you’re able to file a successful injury claim for delayed injuries and get the compensation you deserve after an accident:
- Obtain a copy of the police report. Insurance companies will need this document during the claims process and this can serve as evidence to prove the other driver was at fault.
- See a doctor right after the auto accident to evaluate your injuries. A medical document not only proves to the at-fault driver’s insurance company that you are indeed injured, but can help you determine how much compensation you’ll need to cover your medical bills.
- Don’t give the insurance company a recorded statement until you completely understand the scope of your injuries and have consulted with a doctor and a personal injury lawyer. This will provide you with the flexibility to pursue the claim and deserved compensation if you find additional injuries later on.
- Talk to a car accident lawyer. If you don’t feel confident navigating a personal injury claim by yourself, which we rarely recommend, seek professional advice from an experienced attorney. An attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf and gather all the necessary evidence to prove that the delayed injuries were caused by the car accident.
A Car Accident Lawyer In Dallas Can Help You Get Compensation For Your Delayed Injuries
Fortunately, not every crash is fatal. But even when a car wreck is relatively minor by comparison, unexpected injuries can still occur. When that happens, you’ll still face medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and a reduced quality of life.
If you’ve developed delayed injuries after a car accident, don’t accept a quick cash settlement without first scheduling a consultation with a dedicated and experienced car accident lawyer in Dallas.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare will walk you through the claim process, negotiate on your behalf, and help you receive the full compensation that you are entitled to so that you aren’t saddled by unexpected financial debt and stress. Schedule a free and confidential consultation with us today.