Immediately after being in a car accident, you might feel somewhat fine—but don’t be so quickly convinced into thinking everything is okay. Adrenaline and confusion after a crash can mask the signs of injuries. It is quite common for people to experience delayed injuries after a car accident. Sometimes, the symptoms of an injury won’t start to form until days or weeks after the crash.
Due to the high risk of delayed injuries, it is important to see a medical professional soon after a car accident, no matter how well you feel at first. If you aren’t taken to the hospital in an ambulance, then you should arrange to go to urgent care within the next few hours at most so a doctor can see you. Only a medical doctor can complete a review of your injuries and provide an accurate diagnosis and then a treatment plan.
What are Common Delayed Car Accident Injuries?
A delayed injury is any injury that doesn’t show symptoms as soon as it occurs. With this definition in mind, what sort of delayed injuries can happen in car accidents?
Common delayed car accident injuries include:
- Whiplash: When you are rocked back and forth violently and suddenly in a crash, your neck can take the worst of it, resulting in a whiplash injury. Whiplash is notorious for not showing symptoms immediately. Instead, it tends to start hurting several days or even weeks after the accident. The warning signs of whiplash can be diagnosed early, though. For example, swelling or inflammation in the neck can be detected shortly after a crash. With an early diagnosis, your medical team can provide initial treatments to reduce the severity of whiplash.
- Brain injuries: If you hit your head during a car accident, then it is imperative that you see a medical professional for a thorough checkup. Be sure to let them know that you hit your head, so they can choose the right diagnostic tests. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can slowly start to show symptoms over the course of a few months. For example, you might start struggling to remember new things or recall recent memories a few months after the crash, but not realize the cause of these troubling symptoms right away.
- Back injuries: It is normal to feel sore after being in a car accident. Even a minor collision can cause you to feel achy for a few days. However, the same aches that might fade gradually with time can also be the aches that gradually worsen because they are the first symptoms of a serious back or spine injury. If your back hurts at all after a wreck, don’t assume that it is just a normal soreness that will go away. Take the side of caution and see a medical provider the same day.
- Soft tissue injuries: Nerves, tendons, joints, and muscles are all soft tissues that can be susceptible to serious injuries in a car accident. Like back injuries, soft tissue injuries can feel like a typical soreness that you might be tempted to ignore. You shouldn’t, though. Soft tissue injuries can become suddenly much worse, especially if you don’t let the affected joint or area rest.
Can You File a Delayed Injury Claim?
When you are injured in a car accident, you only have so much time to file a claim against the person who hit you. This deadline is called a statute of limitations, which varies from state to state. It usually begins on the day that the crash happened.
However, if your injuries aren’t immediately known, then the statute of limitations might begin on the date that the injuries reasonably should have been known. For example, if you have a head injury that causes you to start suffering migraines months after the crash, then you could argue that the statute of limitations began on the day that the migraines started, not on the day of the wreck.
You shouldn’t depend on a delayed statute of limitations for a delayed car accident injury claim, though. As soon as you can after a crash, reach out to a medical professional and then a legal professional for help.
If you’re ever in a crash in Opelousas, Louisiana, and you need legal help, come to Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. We are here to help you explore your legal rights, whether your injuries were immediately severe or did not start showing symptoms until after a delay. Contact us now and arrange a no-cost consultation with our car accident attorneys.