Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jan 07, 2015 in Auto Accidents
The first priority after any auto accident is to treat the severe injuries which present an immediate threat to a victims life or health.
However, many serious injuries are not discovered until later, once the more urgent wounds have been addressed. If you are involved in any type of collision, make sure you are checked out by a doctor even if you don't feel hurt. Your body could be hiding serious injuries that can cause long-term problems.
When you suffer extreme pain or trauma, your body's resources are devoted to dealing with that particular injury. For example, if your arm is broken, you may not notice that your neck is sore from whiplash or that your back hurts.
Usually, these types of injuries are also treated while you are recovering, but sometimes lesser injuries can be missed. If you do suffer a more serious injury, like a broken bone, make sure you follow up with your doctor about any pain you feel in other parts of your body once your major injuries are treated.
Masking injuries can be especially dangerous when they hide symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). People who suffer severe injuries are often on painkillers or other drugs for weeks or even months after the accident, and these types of pharmaceuticals can mask symptoms of TBIs, such as decreased cognitive abilities or trouble thinking. If you stop taking these medications and you (or your family) notice that you aren't as sharp as you used to be, make sure that these symptoms are not indicative of a more serious condition.
Delayed Onset Conditions
During an accident, your body tenses up and your adrenaline levels surge. It may take several days, or even weeks, for it to become apparent that your bruises and stiffness are signs of a more serious problem than just generalized soreness. If your aches and pains are not going away, make sure that your doctor evaluates you for any missed injuries.
Trauma to your neck and spine which occurred during an accident may take a significant amount of time to develop. When the discs between your vertebrae are damaged, they leak fluid, eventually compressing on the spinal cord and causing pain. This fluid could leak very slowly, and you may not develop symptoms of your injury for week or months after your collision.
Whiplash injuries should also be carefully monitored for complications which can develop a significant amount of time after your collision. In one case study reported by the American Heart Association, a 50-year-old taxi driver suffered whiplash during a minor car accident. He had been rear-ended, and other than the whiplash, had no major injuries. In the weeks after the accident, he began developing headaches and had difficulty concentrating. Two months after the collision, he lost consciousness and collapsed. Doctors found that the whiplash injury had caused a small tear in an artery, which clotted and caused a stroke.
Always Report Injuries After an Accident
If you were involved in an accident, make sure you continue to monitor your health, and always discuss with your doctor any changes which seem abnormal. Even if your accident happened weeks or months prior to your symptoms, they could still be connected.
At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, our attorneys recommend that you always see a doctor after an accident, even if you feel fine. We know that some types of injuries take time to develop, and believe that you deserve compensation for all of your injuries, not just the ones which are immediately apparent.