Delayed Pain After an Injury
There are roughly six million auto accidents per year in the US. Current data shows that three million victims are injured in these collisions per year.
What makes things more complicated is that an auto accident injury might not show up right away. It’s not unusual for auto accident victims to experience delayed pain days, weeks, or months further down the road.
If you are a recent car accident victim, here is how to identify delayed pain after an injury. You’ll learn how to recognize these symptoms, as well as what to do under such circumstances in order to avoid being left with the cost of expensive medical treatment.
Bodily Injury Defined
Bodily injury is defined as any physical damage to a human’s body. Examples of bodily injury include burns, cuts, or bruises. Bodily injury also includes illness or disease that damages the normal functioning of someone’s mental health or organs.
Bodily injury in a personal injury accident is a class where someone gets hurt as a result of another person’s negligence. A car accident is a common area where a victim can sustain an injury. Depending on the circumstances, a victim can experience immediate pain and apparent injury. However, it’s not uncommon to feel the effects of a crash sometime after the incident has taken place.
When these injuries appear at a later date it’s called a delayed-onset injury. A delayed-onset injury case has its own lawsuit filing requirements to comply with.
Examples of Delayed Pain After an Injury
Many accident victims suffer from delayed car accident injuries. Some of these injuries are physical while others are emotional. Here are some examples of both injuries and some of their symptoms.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined by victims having intense feelings and thoughts related to a traumatic experience long after the experience is over. Victims relive their events through nightmares or flashbacks.
Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissue injuries include damage to the tendons, ligaments, nerves, and muscles in the body. Examples of these injuries that might occur after an auto accident include muscle strains and ligament sprains. These muscles have an inflammatory response that protects them from impacts which can hide the pain for several days.
Whiplash takes place when the force of a collision moves the skull and neck unexpectedly backward, forward, or side to side. This unexpected motion tears and stretches the nerves, muscles, and joints inside your neck.
These injuries include damage to your back muscles, spinal discs, or vertebrae. These spinal injuries apply pressure to your back’s nerves, and appear days after the accident took place. Common symptoms of back and spinal injuries include:
- Soreness and stiffness
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Limited range of motion or mobility
- Muscle cramping or spasms
- Sharp pains when coughing or moving
- Redness or warmth around the injury
- Pain or tenderness around the injury
- Tingling or numbness
What to Do About Delayed Pain
Just because you’re experiencing delayed pain long after your accident is over, doesn’t mean you don’t have any recourse. Make a note of these important action steps.
These helpful tips will help you understand your recovery process. They’ll also reinforce potential legal action further down the road.
Watch for Delayed Symptoms
Delayed symptoms might not appear for either days or weeks after your accident. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms related to the common delayed injuries listed above. Sometimes these symptoms are a sign that your injuries might be life-threatening.
Sometimes delayed injuries are emotional. Behavioral changes can include unexplained fear, anger, or sadness in the victim.
Victims of PTSD may also avoid people or situations that remind them of their traumatic event. They may also experience anxiety or other strong reactions to ordinary things such as loud noises. Delayed symptoms of a soft tissue injury include:
- Delayed tenderness or pain around the injury
- Unexplained swelling
- Limited motion
Whiplash symptoms include neck pain, dizziness, headache, as well as shoulder swelling, and pain. Swelling and stiffness caused by whiplash can be delayed by 24 hours to up to one week after an accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
Accident victims should seek medical treatment right away after their initial accident. If you experience delayed pain, call your doctor again so that you’ll have an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Ask them for their diagnosis on whether your accident caused these delayed injuries.
Collect a Copy of Your Accident Report
Most law enforcement agencies will generate reports when they investigate any car accident scene. This report also includes the details of the accident as well as all witnesses who saw the event.
You will need this report if you decide to pursue legal action in the justice system. It can help pay for ongoing medical expenses.
Organize Your Records
Organize your account of the accident the way you remember it. Download any pictures of your visible injuries as well as the accident scene.
In case you didn’t take any pictures right away after your accident, come back to the accident scene as soon as you can. Take pictures for your records.
If the police never responded to your accident, check to see if you have the name, address, and phone number of the driver and all passengers involved in the accident. You may need their testimony if your case moves onto the court.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident lawyer represents victims involved in a car accident. They represent those victims who believe that someone else’s negligence caused their car accident injuries.
Sometimes, a car accident lawyer is also referred to as an accident claim attorney. Both legal professionals specialize in an area of law called tort law.
What Are Your Next Steps?
If you experience delayed pain after an injury, your first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Have their diagnosis and recommended treatments on hand that describes your delayed injuries.
You should also start the process of finding a car accident lawyer who can help your case. Ask for recommendations from friends or family members who experienced an auto accident in the past. Also, do some online research to find the best car accident lawyer in your area.
For more advice on personal injuries after an accident, schedule a free consultation with The Law Offices of Daniel Kim. Let us help you get the outcome you deserve.