After a car accident, it is important to take the correct steps toward making a physical and financial recovery. One crucial action is to seek immediate medical care. This is important even if you feel fine or initially think you are not injured, as there is always a possibility of delayed or hidden symptoms.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered by car accident victims. It describes damage to the soft tissues of the neck, such as the muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is a painful injury that can be marked by neck, shoulder or back pain, as well as neck stiffness, limited mobility and headaches. Whiplash symptoms can last weeks after a car accident. However, they may not be immediately noticeable. Our Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers have seen many car accident victims experiencing the pain and stiffness of a whiplash injury hours or even days later.
A car accident can cause a sudden spike in the adrenaline that is coursing through your body, resulting in a pain-masking effect that can hide the symptoms of a back or spinal cord injury. It may not be until later, when you have had the chance to relax and process the collision, that the pain of a back injury becomes noticeable. Back pain can be caused by injuries such as herniated disks, ruptured disks, muscle strains and sprains, and vertebrae fractures.
Muscle or Soft-Tissue Pain
The muscles in various parts of the body may get pulled, strained, twisted or torn due to the forces of an automobile accident. Adrenaline can mask the pain of a soft-tissue injury in the beginning but once it wears off, you may notice pain and muscle stiffness in the affected areas. If left untreated, your symptoms can become more pronounced, potentially resulting in limited mobility.
Signs of a Head Injury
If you hit your head or whipped your head back and forth in a car accident, you may suffer a traumatic brain injury. While these injuries are often serious, they do not always present immediate symptoms. The symptoms of a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury, such as a headache, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound, cognitive trouble, or mood changes, can be delayed.
A car accident can cause internal organ damage, internal bleeding or hemorrhaging, and other invisible injuries. Internal injuries can include liver or kidney damage, a ruptured spleen, or damage to the heart or lungs. Abdominal pain, swelling or bruising caused by internal injuries can appear over time rather than immediately after a car crash.
Emotional or Psychological Trauma
In the initial chaos of a car accident, you may not have time to process the trauma of what happened to you. In the following days or weeks, however, the signs of emotional and psychological trauma may become more obvious. The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example, such as nightmares, chronic anxiety, flashbacks, intrusive memories, avoidance of cars or driving, and mood changes, may arise weeks or even months later. Therapy and prescription medications can help you manage PTSD and emotional distress caused by a car accident.
If you experience delayed symptoms after a motor vehicle crash in Pittsburgh, consult with the Pittsburgh car accident attorneys at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. to discuss your legal rights. We can help you prove your injuries and seek fair financial compensation despite delayed injury discovery, diagnosis or treatment.