You were in a car crash a few days ago or maybe even a week or more ago. You thought you escaped uninjured -- aside from feeling shaken. Maybe you broke a bone or two, and you thought that was the extent of your injuries.
Now you're starting to experience some troubling symptoms. You wonder if they're related to the crash, but you figure they would have appeared immediately or at least within hours if they were.
That's not necessarily the case. A number of crash injury symptoms are delayed. Sometimes, that's the way the body works. Other times, it because a person is still numb or even traumatized by the crash, so they're not fully processing their pain. Maybe one injury has caused so much pain that it's been easy to overlook others until that pain begins to subside.
That's why it's essential not to ignore these delayed symptoms. It's also important not to reach a settlement with the insurance company of the driver who caused the crash until you're fully aware of all of your injuries -- and what kind of treatment they'll require.
Let's look at some symptoms of injury that may not be apparent for days or even longer after a crash:
- Headaches: These can be an indication of a head injury such as a concussion or even a blood clot. They can also be a symptom of a neck injury.
- Shoulder or neck pain/stiffness: These can be signs of whiplash. This is common in rear-end collisions. Numbness in the hands and arms can also be a symptom of whiplash and, more specifically, spine or neck damage.
- Abdominal pain/swelling: This could be a sign of internal bleeding - - especially if it's accompanied by large bruises and dizziness.
- Back pain: Low back pain, in particular, is common after side-impact and rear-impact crashes. It can be a symptom of damage to muscles, nerves, ligaments and even the vertebrae.
Don't neglect symptoms that could indicate that you suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). These can include memory, hearing, vision, thinking or personality changes. Depression can also be a sign of a TBI.
It's a good idea to have a full medical evaluation by your doctor after a crash -- even if you were treated in an emergency room. Don't accept a settlement until you know what medical expenses you can anticipate. An experienced attorney can help.