Out of nowhere, your vehicle violently jolts. You hear the crunch of metal, and even with your seat belt on, you feel as though the impact threw you around your vehicle. When you and your vehicle finally come to rest, it may take you a few seconds, or even a few minutes, to realize what just happened.
As soon as you realize you were in an accident, your brain begins to assess the condition of the rest of your body. When you figure out you can move and don't show any outward signs of injury, you breathe a sigh of relief and get out of your vehicle. After you can leave the scene, you count yourself lucky and go home.
You may not have been as lucky as you think
The first few days and weeks after an accident are crucial when it comes to injuries. You may expect to be sore and in pain for a couple of days. After all, you were just in a car accident. However, if you experience any of the following, you may want to get to a doctor as soon as possible:
- If you experience back pain, more than just pulled muscles could be the cause. It could indicate damage to the spinal cord, ligaments, muscles or nerves, resulting in debilitating or permanent injury.
- If you experience a headache that won't go away or gets worse, it could indicate a traumatic brain injury.
- If you have trouble thinking, remembering things or even moving around, it could mean you suffered a TBI. Other indicators of a TBI are vision problems, hearing problems, depression or changes in personality.
- If you suffer from pain or stiffness in your neck or shoulders, it could indicate a more serious injury, such as a spinal cord injury or a TBI. This is a classic symptom of whiplash, which most people fail to take seriously, but could take weeks or months to recover from based on the severity.
- Another indicator of whiplash or other damage to the neck or spinal column is numbness in your hands and arms.
- If you experience swelling or pain in your abdomen, it could signify that you are bleeding internally. Other signs of possible internal bleeding include fainting, dizziness or large areas of deep purple bruising.
Another condition not physical in nature that you could suffer from is post-traumatic stress syndrome. You may not realize that PTSD can be debilitating and adversely affect your life and possibly your health. If you experience any of these symptoms after your car accident, they could affect your life for an extended amount of time and, perhaps, for the rest of your life.
If another party's actions caused your injuries, you may pursue compensation in an Illinois civil court to help with your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.