If you are going to sustain an injury, you want it to be the kind that causes little damage, and comes and goes quickly. The sooner the injury is diagnosed, treated, and healed, the sooner your legal case can be settled, and you can get on with your life.
Unfortunately, that is simply not the way it works out much of the time. Injuries from auto accidents can be long, drawn out affairs that you didn’t see coming. Because we underestimated the severity of the injury, we might go on about our business with reckless abandon, making the long-term injury worse than what it needed to be.
We also might accept a settlement thinking that all is well when it is anything but. After an accident, these are some of the injuries that you need to look out for:
A concussion is what happens when the brain makes forceful contact with the skull. The two are never intended to meet. And when they do so, it tends to be violently. The consequences of a concussion can be pretty severe. But they can be even worse for women.
The symptoms can be as mild as headaches and tinnitus, and as sever as amnesia and difficulty reasoning. Only in the most severe cases is surgery performed. Otherwise, only the symptoms are treated. The damage can be mild and brief, or severe and long-term. When you are diagnosed with a concussion, you have to give it quite a bit of time after you are feeling better before you know the true extent of the damage.
Soft Tissue Injuries and Whiplash
The most common injury after an accident is soft tissue injury. Your muscles get stretched, wrenched, and twisted in a sudden, violent, and unpredictable motion. In the process, muscles get pulled, causing stress on tendons and ligaments.
When that type of injury is in the neck, we call it whiplash. The tricky part about it is that if it hurts at the time of the accident, it may quickly start feeling better. Thinking the worst has past, you go on with your life. But this sort of injury can take quite a long time to heal, even if it feels okay initially.
All About Car Accidents provides more details about late appearing car accident injuries. They list some of the symptoms of whiplash, including:
- difficulty moving or reduced range of motion
- stiffness in arms and shoulders
- muscle spasms
- slowed reflexes, and
- numbness or weakness in afflicted areas
If your case is not handled properly, you may decide that you are just fine, accept an appealing settlement offer, and go on your way, only to discover that you have more issues that need medical attention. At that point, you are on your own. Under no circumstances should you deal with this kind of injury without the advice of a licensed car accident attorney.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The above link also talks about the prevalence of PTSD after an accident. It is worth repeating, as we only tend to focus on the physical effects of an accident without giving any notice of the phycological impact of a collision.
PTSDsupport.net, quotes from the authors of After The Crash: Assessment and Treatment of Motor Vehicle Accident Survivors, which is published by the American Psychological Association (APA):
”It is also taking a psychological toll. Not only are almost half of those in car accidents at a noticeable risk for developing PTSD, but there are other non symptomatic signs that affect them, like having trouble on the job and in school, maintaining friendships and not being able to enjoy leisure time.’’
Because we know that upwards of 45% of the people surviving a serious accident also suffer from PTSD, it may be prudent to see a counselor as well as a medical doctor.
After a serious accident, you focus on scrapes and bruises, brakes and contusions. You are worried about the injuries you can easily see and feel. However, those are not the ones most likely to cause long-term issues. So be sure to get checked for the injuries that might take a while to show up.