Broken bones, deep cuts, and partial or complete paralysis are just some of the injuries you might sustain in a car wreck that needs immediate attention. But not all auto crash injuries are immediately noticeable. You may only feel a little sore or feel nothing at all except a surge of adrenaline following your collision.
This feeling can be deceptive. You may have suffered serious but unseen injuries that require quick and specialized treatment. Delaying in getting the treatment you need will harm your health but also harm your legal rights and ability to obtain compensation through a lawsuit or settlement.
It is common to rely on how your body feels to decide whether to see a doctor. For example, waiting until you have a fever before taking any medicine. Applying the same reasoning and logic to the aftermath of an accident is not surprising. But it can be hours, days, or even weeks before you first notice symptoms of certain car crash injuries.
Common injuries that may not result in immediate signs and symptoms include traumatic brain injuries, concussions, infections, and joint injuries.
A concussion or traumatic brain injury is likely after hitting your head on the steering wheel or support pillar during the crash. An airbag deploying or seat belt can cause you to suffer a whiplash injury. Whiplash is caused by rapid head movement.
The first indication that you suffered more than a bump on the head is a persistent headache, constant nausea and vomiting, or other symptoms that do not go away or get worse after getting better. These symptoms could continue for days or weeks before you decide to seek medical treatment finally.
Cuts and lacerations by broken glass or sharp metal shards during a crash can become infected over time if they are not properly cleaned. Soap and water are not always sufficient to clean wounds if shards of glass or metal remain embedded in your skin.
Wounds that become infected appear red and inflamed, do not heal properly, or have a foul-smelling discharge. Untreated infections can lead to a fever and other symptoms as it develops. The longer treatment is delayed, the more difficult it can be to recover from your infection.
Even with a seat belt, suffering injuries to your shoulder or other joints in a violent crash is possible. What starts as a sore shoulder or muscle ache can worsen over days or weeks without treatment. It’s typical to notice an increasingly less range of motion in your shoulder or joint.
Because these initially invisible injuries can worsen and threaten your health with delayed treatment, car accident attorneys recommend that you seek medical evaluation and treatment after nearly every car accident.
Your right to receive compensation following a car collision can be adversely affected if you delay medical care, which is why your car accident attorney will advise you to seek prompt medical treatment. A treatment delay will likely make it significantly more difficult for you and your personal injury attorney to obtain full compensation for your injuries.
One of the key elements you must prove as part of a successful car accident lawsuit is that the other person’s negligent conduct is the cause of your injuries. Proving this element is much easier when your injuries are discovered and documented quickly following a crash.
When your injuries are not immediately discovered, treated, documented, or worsened over time, making the connection between your injuries and accident becomes difficult for your car accident attorney to prove. For example, if you happen to be injured in any other accident, a judge or jury would have difficulty separating the harm you suffered in your car crash from the harm you suffered in the subsequent accident.
Moreover, your decision to delay treatment is likely to be perceived as carelessness, especially if the delay causes you additional harm. If a judge or jury believes your own actions helped contribute to your injuries, including how severe your injuries became, your compensation award would be reduced accordingly.
It isn’t always clear whether you should get medical care after a crash. And when your health and compensation are on the line, you must understand when you should seek medical attention.
You should visit a doctor or emergency room if you have doubts about the severity of your injuries after a wreck. In addition, seek medical evaluation as soon as possible if:
- You strike your head or experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, or confusion
- You black out for any length of time
- You suspect you may have broken a bone
- You are experiencing unusual pain, especially in a joint or your back
- You have lost sensation in any part of your body
Seek treatment and evaluation if you have prior existing injuries or injuries that are healing, such as a broken bone that was recently set. During your case, your car accident attorney may ask you to periodically get medically evaluated to ensure your injuries are healing as expected and that you are not developing complications.
The personal injury attorneys at the accident law firm of Slater & Zurz dedicate their practice to helping clients receive as much compensation as possible following car wrecks. Our car accident attorneys want you to receive full compensation for your car crash injuries to recover physically and financially. Our legal team is prepared to step in with knowledgeable and helpful counsel if you or a loved one have been involved in a wreck. Contact any one of our offices and request a free consultation with us.