Car accidents can be very traumatic, even if they are minor rear-end collisions. Car accidents affect both the victim’s mental and physical well-being. For minor accidents, victims may not become aware of their physical injuries until after the accident.
There are various reasons why your body cannot instantly process physical injuries after an accident. Victims need to monitor their physical state after the accident even if they believe they are well.
What is the Adrenaline and Endorphin Effect?
Your brain tends to produce adrenaline and endorphins after a traumatic event in an effort to protect your body. Then, your brain is rushed with the necessary energy to continue what it needs to do to find a safe haven.
Adrenaline and endorphins have the combined effect of blocking any pain that you may be feeling at the time, making it difficult to identify any injuries that you may have suffered. Similarly, some athletes do not notice their sports injuries until well after their game is finished.
What is Soft Tissue Damage?
Soft tissue damage is any injury to any body part that is not bone, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This sort of damage may not show right away. In some cases, it takes days or even weeks for soft tissue damage to become apparent. Soft tissue injuries are common results of a car accident. Since soft tissue damage does not affect the bones, any damage to soft tissue will be hard to diagnose without any symptoms.
An x-ray after a car accident checks for bone damage, but not soft tissue damage. If left untreated, soft tissue damage will worsen and may become untreatable. It is very important to closely monitor any aches and pains and go to the doctor as soon as they become apparent after a car accident.
The most common soft tissue damage related to car accidents is whiplash. This injury is defined as the sudden forceful motion of your neck moving forward and then being pushed backward by your seatbelt. Some spine and back injuries may also involve some soft tissue damage.
Can You Suffer from Brain Damage After a Car Accident?
Aside from aches and pains, a car accident victim may suffer brain damage. As your skull protects your brain, any brain swelling and excessive fluids will not be noticed with the naked eye. It is important to closely monitor the symptoms and seek medical assistance once any soft tissue damage or brain damage becomes apparent.
Common symptoms of brain damage include:
- Blurred vision;
- Cloudy thinking;
- Lack of balance;
- Inability to concentrate;
- Loss of short-term memory;
- Lack of energy; and
- Abnormal sleep patterns.
These symptoms may also indicate that the person has suffered a concussion or similar type of condition. Concussions can be very dangerous and lead to long-term damage or long-term medical conditions.
How Long After a Car Accident Can Injuries Appear?
Car accident pain, symptoms, and injuries can manifest within hours, days, or even weeks after a crash. One common reason for delayed symptoms is that our bodies experience an incredible rush of adrenaline and endorphins during a traumatic event like a car accident. The release of these chemicals can hide feelings of pain immediately after an accident.
Everyone reacts differently to stress and trauma. Researchers have yet to uncover why some people feel immediate symptoms while others experience delayed pain and symptoms. Even if you feel fine after a car crash, monitor yourself closely in the days and weeks following the accident. Call your doctor if you develop a new onset of pain and injury symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of Delayed Injuries?
Delayed injuries can manifest hours to weeks after the crash. After an auto accident, be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms.
- 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)
See a doctor if you experience any new or unusual pain after a car accident. Even if the pain is mild or appears unrelated to the accident, seek medical treatment.
The Importance of Getting Medical Attention After a Car Accident
When you feel any discomfort, it is important to see a doctor. Suppose you do end up making an insurance claim against the person who caused the car accident. In that case, the insurance adjuster will ask to see your medical documentation, including any medical reports from doctors that you have visited following the accident.
Additionally, if you wait too long to see a doctor, your injuries may disappear. Or even worse, your injuries will become aggravated, leading to more pain than you would have otherwise suffered from if you had been treated.
What Does the Term “Statute of Limitations” Mean?
The term “statute of limitations” is simply another way to refer to the filing deadline for an injury claim. When a car accident or other injury incident happens, the injured person will usually only have a certain amount of time to file a legal claim; after that period passes or closes, the person cannot ever bring a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for a car accident claim can vary depending on several factors. It depends on state law in most cases, as each state may have different filing deadlines for car accident injury claims. Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for car accident claims is 1-2 years after the accident. Again, this can vary by state.
For instance, in the state of California:
- The statute of limitations for a car accident claim is generally two years. This means that a car accident victim has two years from their accident to file a claim. Once this has passed, they likely can’t file their lawsuit anymore.
- The statute of limitations for a car accident involving a government vehicle is only six months (such as collisions with a city bus, garbage truck, police car, or another government vehicle). This means that the person must file more promptly if the accident involves a government vehicle.
Each state may have different filing deadlines and statutes of limitations. Some jurisdictions may begin the statute of limitations only after the person has discovered their injury. Speak with an attorney if you’re unsure of the filing deadline for your particular type of claim.
Be aware that filing deadlines exist. Filing deadlines become even more important if the person’s injuries are delayed. Delayed injuries could affect the timing of the statute of limitations being applied. If you wait too long to file, you may miss the filing period.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney If I have Delayed Injuries from a Car Accident?
Before you settle with a car insurance company, you should consult a car accident attorney to determine whether you are being offered a good settlement.
An attorney can help you negotiate your settlement. Insurance companies may take advantage of victims who do not know their rights and attempt to settle for a lesser amount. Use LegalMatch to find a personal injury attorney today. There is no fee to schedule a consultation.