Often people who are injured in a car accident don't realize how serious their injuries are for some time. Sometimes, they don't realize they've been injured at all.
The shock of being in a crash may prevent you from noticing symptoms of a problem. You may be so relieved to be safe and alive that you don't give any thought to a few aches and pains. However, pain from injuries suffered in a crash can be delayed. Further, what may seem like relatively minor discomfort may be a sign of a more serious injury.
Some of the symptoms that you shouldn't ignore include:
Headaches: This could be a symptom of a brain injury. Even if you didn't strike your head, if you were jolted in the crash, your brain may have moved within your skull -- possibly causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Back pain: This could be symptomatic of a herniated disc (which is a type of spinal injury), a sprain or some type of muscle damage
Tingling or numbness: This can also stem from a herniated disc or possibly a pinched nerve
Shoulder and neck pain: This is typically associated with whiplash. However, it can also be caused by other injuries. It doesn't always appear immediately after a crash. Whiplash is often minimized, but it's actually a term that can refer to a variety of injuries.
If you've been involved in a crash, even if you walked (or drove) away from it feeling nothing more than a bit shaken, it's wise to see your doctor. Describe what happened so that they better know what kinds of injuries to check for. Don't ignore pain and other symptoms you experience in the ensuing days and weeks.
It's essential not to sign any release of liability for the insurance company or settle the claim too soon. They're probably anxious to wrap this up and get off the hook for a substantial payout. However, you don't want to give up your right to seek compensation for future expenses.
If you are getting medical treatment, physical therapy or psychological help as the result of an accident, it's important to get an estimate of how long this will continue and what it will cost in total before you settle any claim or sign away your rights. If you're having difficulty getting the compensation you need, it may be wise to consult an attorney.