Delayed Pain after a Car Crash...What Now?
More than 5 million auto crashes occur in the United States each year. All too often, these crashes result in serious injuries requiring immediate and sometimes long-term medical care.
However, there are times when drivers are fortunate enough to walk away from a crash injury-free, but you could still be hurt and not know it yet. Some injuries don’t present themselves right away, and pain after a car accident can be delayed for hours or days, even weeks.
Why are Injuries Delayed?
When you're in a crash, your body tries to protect you from the trauma by releasing a sudden surge of adrenaline endorphins, which means you feel increased energy and commonly a lack of pain. These hormones are designed to protect you from harm by causing the “fight or flight” response when you're in danger. But just because you feel fine immediately following a car accident, that doesn't necessarily mean that you are fine. Once the release of those chemicals subsides, the pain from a car crash injury could start to set in.
Delayed Symptoms not to Ignore
- Abdominal pain. After a car accident, stomach pain can be a sign of damage to soft tissue from the impact, such as injuries to internal organs or internal bleeding. If you have stomach pain, feel dizzy, or develop large bruises, seek medical attention right away.
- Neck pain. This is a classic symptom of whiplash, which occurs frequently after rear-end collisions. The impact whips the head forward and back, leading to sprains and strains, herniated disks, and other spinal cord injuries. It may take hours or days for this symptom to show up, and can last for days, months, or in extreme cases, can even be permanent.
- Back pain. Back pain after a car accident can be the result of soft-tissue damage, slipped or herniated disks, whiplash, or spinal injuries. Back pain can plague you for months or even years, so seek treatment right away if you experience it after an accident.
- Tingling and numbness. If you hit your head during a car accident and experience numbness or a feeling of pins and needles somewhere on your body, it could be a subtle sign of brain injury and a larger problem with your nervous system. Other sources could be a pinched nerve or a herniated disk, but this sensation could be the alarm bell for a much larger medical problem, so see a doctor immediately.
- Memory loss or lack of concentration. Over time, you may have trouble remembering or struggle to concentrate on a task. Car crashes can lead to a long list of emotional and psychological problems, but these issues can also be caused by a traumatic brain injury (TBI) you sustained in a collision. The sooner you get checked out by a medical professional, the sooner you can start your recovery.
- Constant headache and nausea. The combination of a headache and nausea is extremely worrying and may point to a concussion, blood clot, or a more severe TBI. Hitting your head during a collision may have altered your brain or damaged your brain. The sooner you receive medical attention, the better.
See a Doctor After a Car Crash
Following a car crash, you should see a doctor if you feel any level of pain and discomfort. It may even be a good idea to get checked out even if you feel fine. Your doctor will be in the best position to determine whether you sustained any serious injuries in the accident and give you advice on monitoring symptoms of potential injuries, including the red flags to watch out for mentioned above.
If you end up making any sort of injury claim after the accident, it's crucial to be able to document the fact that you sought medical treatment within a reasonable amount of time.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident in Pennsylvania, a car crash lawyer can help you. At Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., we have decades of experience and immense knowledge of personal injury law to apply to our clients’ crash cases. We offer free legal consultations to potential clients. To learn more about our legal services and to schedule this no-cost consultation, contact our personal injury attorney, Melissa Scartelli, today. You can reach our office via phone: 570-346-2600.