In any significant accident, cuts, bruises, and compound fractures are easily noticeable at the scene. However, it is possible to walk out of a seemingly bad accident with nothing more than a few visible bruises.
However, having a few bruises does not always mean that they are the only injuries you have sustained. Sometimes some internal injuries may not manifest until after a few hours or even days following a car accident.
Why Some Injuries Take Time to Show
Some injuries are slow to appear because of how the human body reacts in exciting, stressful, dangerous, or threatening situations. These situations trigger the release of adrenaline, a flight and fight hormone that masks pain to allow a person to defend themselves or flee a dangerous situation.
The effects of adrenaline don’t last for long. Some internal injuries such as fractured ribs and limbs may become evident as the adrenaline wanes out within a few minutes or hours. Therefore, it is important to visit the ER or take advantage of the medical help offered by first responders at the scene to help rule out the possibility of hidden injuries.
Concussions and Whiplash are Among the Common Hidden Injuries
Some injuries take longer to show by their nature, for example, a concussion or a whiplash. A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury that results from blunt force to the head or a quick back and forth movement of the head, resulting in the brain being dashed on the walls of its enclosure.
At first, a concussion may be mistaken for a headache, especially where a victim did not pass out. Concussions can go unnoticed for up to three days and are sometimes undetectable even through a CT scan. After an accident, some concussion signs you may need to watch out for include unending headaches, dizziness, fogginess, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light and sound, and abnormal temperament.
Another injury that may not show immediately after a car accident is whiplash. It’s an injury to the neck muscles caused by the head’s back and forth movement stretching the neck ligaments beyond their natural limits. Minor whiplash injuries can take a week to heal, while more severe whiplash can last longer and worsen if left untreated.
Other injuries that could take longer to manifest include delayed back pains, herniated disks, sprains and strains, ligament injuries, and abdominal injuries. (1)
Why Do You Need To Get Checked
It is important to get checked for injuries after an accident to rule out injuries that the adrenaline rush may mask or those that cannot be detectable physically. “ER doctors know the right questions to ask and the tests to perform to determine the possibility of injuries,” says personal injury attorney David Benowitz of Price Benowitz LLP.
Besides ruling out undetected injuries, being checked after an accident helps create a link between your injuries and the accident. Taking long before seeking medical attention can be used by the opposing side to deny your claim or lower the value of your claim by arguing that your injuries were not as severe or that they did not originate from the accident. Medical records also become very helpful to your attorney when determining damages. (2)
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